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Nov 04. Transparency Series: Virtual Reality

The next Transparency Series event is on the use of Virtual Reality (VR) in journalism. With the recent explosion of VR – specifically 360-degree video– journalistic outlets are hungry for quality documentary content for immersive platforms. While immersive media experiences have become increasingly prevalent in the gaming and entertainment industries, we are only beginning to explore them within the context of documentary photography and journalism. How can media makers use immersion as a tool to engage communities and forward social change? How does immersing your viewer in content change the nature of the story you are telling? And how does this mode of experiencing a story change how journalists approach the planning, creation, and distribution of stories?

As usual, this event is broken into two parts.

The first part, on Friday November 18 at 5pm, is a talk by Raney Aronson-Rath. Aronson-Rath leads FRONTLINE, PBS' flagship investigative journalism series. She has been internationally recognized for her work to expand FRONTLINE’s reporting capacity, reimagine the documentary form across multiple platforms, and report and tell stories that matter in new, creative ways. She has overseen the production of several VR documentaries including “Return to Chernobyl,” “On the Brink of Famine,” and “Ebola Outbreak." 

The second part, on Saturday November 19, is a day-long, hands-on workshop led by Marcelle Hopkins, the Executive Producer for 360 News at The New York Times, and Matt MacVey from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. The VR workshop will take students who have little to no background in virtual reality and introduce them to the fundamentals of working in the medium. The workshop will start with a screening of VR films and quickly move outdoors to film. As with all the events in the Transparency Series, this will be a mix of theory and practice. 

Registration for the hands-on workshop will at 5pm November 4. The sign-up form will be posted at http://brwn.co/tx. Below are the bios for our presenters. This should be a great event!

Raney Aronson-Rath leads FRONTLINE, PBS’ flagship investigative journalism series. She has been internationally recognized for her work to expand FRONTLINE’s reporting capacity, reimagine the documentary form across multiple platforms, and report and tell stories that matter in new, creative ways. Under Aronson-Rath’s leadership, FRONTLINE has won every major award in broadcast journalism, earned new funding to expand its investigative capacity and dramatically expanded its digital footprint. Under Aronson-Rath, FRONTLINE has produced several groundbreaking documentaries in VR — “Return to Chernobyl,” “On the Brink of Famine,” and “Ebola Outbreak” — and they will expand their exploration of virtual reality in journalism with a large grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Prior to FRONTLINE, Aronson-Rath worked at ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, and MSNBC. She earned her bachelor’s degree in South Asian studies and history from the University of Wisconsin, and received her master’s from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Marcelle Hopkins is the Executive Producer for 360 News at The New York Times. Before joining The Times, she produced and directed virtual reality documentaries for FRONTLINE and Emblematic Group. In the past two years, she has received a reporting fellowship from the International Women's Media Foundation, a Magic Grant from the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, a Ford Foundation JustFilms fellowship at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, and a United Nations Correspondents Association award. She spent seven years at Al Jazeera's UN bureau, where she produced TV news packages, interviews, features and documentaries.

Matt MacVey is developing immersive journalism curriculum and workshops at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Matt wrote a report about immersive media for the NYC Media Lab and worked on interactive stories in the exhibitions department at the American Museum of Natural History.

Established in 2012, the Institute is a collaboration between Columbia and Stanford Universities. Our mission is simple: Sponsor thinking, building and speculating on how stories are discovered and told in a networked, digitized world.
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