Cronkite School showcases storytelling possibilities, like sending drones into volcanoes or creating 3-D videos
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s First Amendment Forum was a hive of digital activity Wednesday evening.
Telepresence robots syncing people from outside the room roamed the space, people were enjoying virtual-reality experiences through their smartphones and attendees were downloading new apps.
But the room wasn’t filled with software developers gathered at a tech expo; rather they were journalism students who saw the future and embraced it.
“Journalism today is about the power of the visual image and experiencing the world around you,” said Scotty Bara, a 21-year-old junior at the Cronkite School, who was holding up a small juice-glass-size 360-degree camera up into the light to check its capability and range. “It’s a stepping-stone for storytelling, and these experiences are going to shape the way we view news.”
Just as the digital era radically changed news content with the rise of high-speed Internet and mobile technology, the Cronkite School used its first-ever Innovation Day to demonstrate how the next wave of technology will impact the future of news coverage.
Retha Hill, who heads up Cronkite’s New Media Innovation Lab and who is the former executive producer for special products at WashingtonPost.com, headed up the first wave of digital products for the newspaper industry in the mid-1990s. On Wednesday she introduced students to Vrse, a specialized and focused production studio that supports virtual-reality spherical filmmaking from a variety of sources, including the New York Times, Vice News, “Saturday Night Live” and the United Nations. Picture a video story that allows the user to look all around, including up, down and behind, to fully explore a story.
Hill said Cronkite is developing an app similar to Vrse that will use a variety of emerging technologies, including a 360-degree camera, still photography, Google maps and virtual reality.