Reading through the CT Story documents, I believe that we all have begun to realize just how crucial our coverage of this case is. Not only is it significant for this particular project’s goal of giving a voice to the marginalized youth in the Juvenile Justice System, but it is also extremely important for this particular youth who may have been neglected a fair deal in his original trial.

Professor Leonard Witt, the Project Coordinator, reminded us all of the extreme importance of this project through an e-mail he sent out to the group today. Among the strong words he used to express the magnitude of this project’s relevance, Professor Witt used the following words to ignite the motivation for our commitment to the project: “If we do our work right, [the youth] will finally get a fair public hearing, which might be life-altering for him. If we do it right, it will also be life-altering for all of us. Rarely in your life will you get an opportunity to do something that can so profoundly affect another person’s life. And beyond that, because [his] story is representative of thousands of others like him, the story’s magnitude is expediential in importance.”

It’s true. If we commit ourselves to “doing a great virtual world rendition, doing a great journalism story, and doing great public relations, all will elevate the project to get the attention it deserves” – Leonard Witt.

For this JJIE Virtual World machinima project, good is not good enough. Despite our countless other obligations, we must realize the significance of this case to this boy’s life, and to the numerous other youth who could stumble down the same path. If we want to make a difference and really bring justice to this case and many others like it, we must commit ourselves now. For the next twelve weeks, we must be willing to push past our limits to devote our time to a cause that is bigger than any other personal obligation. If we truly dedicate ourselves to this cause, then these next twelve weeks could be some of the most rewarding ones of our lives.

It’s time to make a difference. True commitment begins now.

Organization & Collaboration

Today’s group meeting started out with a much-needed talk about the organization of the project’s activities and documents.

Gwenette led the first thirty minutes as we all took a step back to talk about the valuable information on this very JJIE Virtual World site, as well as to review the strict schedule. We discussed how to post and organize blogs, how to locate and read the calendar on the site (located under Project Info tab), and what needed to be done so we can meet our deadlines.

A major eye-opener for many was the September 30th Machinima Content Deadline. This is very important to note, as it means that the Journalists must have relayed all of the necessary information on the CT story that will be going into the machinima. Although we do have an “emergency info add” deadline for any missing pieces that must be in the virtual world story, the strict deadline is September 30th.

Furthermore, we discussed the events that the Public Relations group will be coordinating:

  • The earliest event, coming up on Wednesday, October 7, is a live, inworld music concert produced by the popular Hypergrid Safari Tours group. They run weekly hypergrid tours across the Opensim Metaverse for crowds of up to 20+ die-hard hypergrid explorers and music fans. We will be hosting their October 7, Noon to 1pmET, music concert on our very own JJIE Virtual World Welcome Workshop region’s Beach Music Stage. In addition, that same Wednesday morning,  Nina Camplin, an artist and machinimist from England, will be our guest speaker during our group meeting.
  • Our Wednesday, October 21, classs speaker, Chantal Harvey, a professional Dutch television producer, animator, machinimist and machinima festival producer from Amsterdam, will be sharing her creative techniques and virtual world machinima tips with our team.
  • Looking ahead to our final project showcase – it will be held in the Media Lab of the Social Science Building at Kennesaw State University, December 2, 2015 from 4:30-7:30. All KSU staff and students are welcome to attend.

After PR talk, we discussed our source materials for next machinima story writing and scenario creation: the CT Story documents received from Steve Reba.  We decided that everyone should be familiar with the case in order to commit themselves to the project. Claire Bohrer, the Journalist Producer, divided up the documents amongst the twelve interns to read through and give a detailed summary of each assigned file. Via GoogleDrive, each team member has designated pdf files to read and correlating templates for notes in which to record his or her findings. The deadline for the completed summaries is Monday, September 14, 2015 at 5:00PM. After all the document summaries are submitted, every group member must go back and read through the every summary (or full pdf files) to become familiar with all aspects of the case. During our group meeting on Wednesday, September 16, we plan to discuss the key points of each document. Along with the summaries, we will be recording interview/avatar prospects, significant locations, and important event dates. All of this information is relevant to both the Journalist Group, who is writing the story, and the Virtual World group, who will be building the machinima scenario.

When it comes to inworld assignments: Gwenette has prepared our Week 03 & 04 assignment, involving researching Creative Commons licensed, emotionally evocative visuals, then uploading, framing and displaying them inworld. The assignment is due on Tuesday, September 15. These skills will be important during our creation of the graphics and inworld special effects for both the CT Story and the “Forgive” poem machinimas.

At the end of the meeting, we all split up into our groups to discuss and assign tour specific tasks. Although we may be in three separate task groups, there is no doubt that we will all be working collaboratively to make this project a success.

Blogger Posting Update


Just a heads up:  Here is a screen capture of all our interns’ names showing you where to find the links to their individual blogs.  Note we have changed the “Blogs” tab and category to read “Bloggers”.  On that top tier tab page you will find ALL the blog posts by our interns in chronological order.  We have several categories bloggers can check to help showcase each post’s contents.  For example, every intern post always checks off the categories of their own Name and Bloggers, and any other subject category that describes the post, like OpenSim or Avatars or Machinima.

If you want to read about a specific topic, look to the sidebar.  On every page there is a dropdown menu with all the categories with the number of related posts.  Click any category title and you will find all the posts about that topic from both our interns and our Front Page writers.

Strict Project Schedule

Word Cloud created with Jason Davies opensource online tool –

Friday afternoon at the Center for Sustainable Journalism, a few team members, along with Leonard and Gwenette, met up (via Skype for Gwenette) to discuss a necessary calendar of deadlines for the project. As we discussed the stories we planned to cover and measured out the amount of time we actually had to gather/write the stories, create the machinima, and to promote/produce the scheduled events, we realized that we were definitely in a time crunch.  So, we brainstormed a plan for the remainder of the semester.

Below is an outline of  the Journalism, Machinima, & Event Plan:
Roles are not definitive, and will likely change as we learn who is willing to take on which tasks, based on abilities and interests.

We will be working on three basic products and a project manual:

“Forgive” Poem – Stylized Machinima — Supervisor: Gwenette

  • All ready to go – Need permission from The Beat Within (contact: David Inoncencio)
    • Claire & Ann will secure that – get in writing that it is okay to set the poem in a virtual world environment and that we have worldwide rights to distribute that in any form and on any platform, the copyrights to the poem and any other use of the poem belong to the writer. We can provide them a contract.
    • Ariel & Claire: Find a voice: First, see if the writer is willing to voice it, if not, we will have to do the voice for it. Either a student in the project, an acting student or someone with a strong professional voice.  Alternative is to use several voices reading different stanzas, so we will be gathering many voices reading the poem.
    • Derek, Eric & Cristina – artistic look & machinima creation
    • Anyone else interested in inworld building can also help

The CT Story – Presently Incarcerated Adult Arrested When a Juvenile

  • Long text story – Supervisor: Leonard Witt – First draft due Nov. 1, rewrite Nov. 15
    • Ariel, Camille, Claire, Jackson, Kevin: Study documents to gather background information, research further info & interview people involved with case to write story
  • The Virtual World, Machinima spin off – Supervisor: Gwenette Sinclair – Like a Story sidebar – start building it immediately – writers above feed information to inworld build team using our gDoc spreadsheets for sharing information
    • Ann, Cristina, Jackson, Jourdan, Eric, Derek & whoever else wants to help

PR Events: Ariel, Kassidy, Linda

  • October 07: Virtual World Class Speaker Nina Camplin
  • October 07:  Mixed Reality Noon Live Music Concert w/Dancing
  • October 21: Virtual World Class Speaker Chantal Harvey
  • Novenber 18: Mixed Reality Final Project Presentation Event (Determine Campus Location ASAP)
  • Decmeber 02: Mixed Reality Final Project Team Presentation Event, Media Lab of the LSU Social Science Building, 4:30-7:30pmET

Project Tool Kit Manual for Public Distribution:

  • Team only responsible for suggestions and comments on draft versions. Final version will be distributed in early 2016.

Introductions & Group Formations

Derek, Eric presenting 19aug15e

Today’s meeting began with introductions.
Each team member presented their prepared personal presentation to the rest of the team. We even had Gwenette listening from inworld, so the whole team was present, except for a few or our professional consultants and researchers. Since there are biographies of each of the team members to view on this site, I won’t re-cap on each presentation. I will say, however, that based on the introductions, we all have some impressive skills and knowledge to bring to the table. At the end of each presentation, Leonard asked us which role we saw ourselves taking in the JJIE Virtual World Project based on our previous work experience.

After all of the presentations, we split into the groups in which we felt we could best use our talents.
These are the groups that were formed (some people overlapped, as they will perform various roles for the Project):
Technology (Virtual World Builders): Derek, Erik & Cristina
Journalism: Ann, Ariel, Camille, Claire, Jackson, Jourdan, Kevin, Linda
Public Relations: Kasi, Linda, Ariel, Claire
Research: Claire & Ariel & essentially the whole group when it comes to all of the research we will have to contribute to make this Project possible

While in our groups, we discussed the next steps to take. The Journalism Crew focused on the stories we planned to cover. We threw around some ideas and circled back around to one story that Leonard had mentioned from the start about a man named Alton Pitre. Although Alton is no longer a youth, his story is very interesting.  He was born in Califronia, was incarcerated as a teen, and then completely turned his life around when he was finally released. Since he currently works for the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, he is an easy, immediate contact for a quick story.
However, we do want to keep searching for stories in Georgia (preferably of youth who are still in prison), so that we can work to amplify their voices while they are in the system.

We talked about the need to do more research on Alton’s story, as well as to be on the lookout for other stories. Claire & Ariel jumped on these Research roles to jumpstart the project. Camille discussed her connections to a youth detention center where she could possibly get us a tour for a visual representation of place (not only for the Journalists, but for the Virtual Worlds group as well). Jourdan also mentioned her connections with a group called Turning Point Therapy.  She may be able to get us connected with the youth there.

By the end of the meeting (and about 2 hours beyond), we were eager to take up our roles and begin our research.