Academic department under which the project should be listed

English

Faculty Sponsor Name

Leonard Witt

Additional Faculty

Dr. Farooq Kperogi

Project Type

Poster

Abstract (250 words maximum)

Although immersive journalism in the virtual world was pioneered by journalist and documentary filmmaker Nonny de la Peña years ago, traditional journalists are just now discovering its potential as an alternative platform to report the news. This study explores the singularities of immersive journalism in virtual worlds using the "Marginalized Youth Voices Amplified on Virtual Worlds" project, which a journalism professor at a southern public university received a grant to develop. The grant came from an Online News Association Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, and has been involved in efforts to produce 3D-scenario machinimas (action videos inside virtual worlds) to tell real-life journalism stories of the youth in the juvenile justice system. The project deploys the principles of traditional journalism in the virtual world to re-create the experiences of youth in the Georgia juvenile justice system. As the project's student researcher, I plan to discover what journalism professors, students and professionals can learn from this nine-month experience of using virtual world platforms to tell real-world journalism stories. Using a combination of ethnographic and survey research, this study will undertake a structural analysis of not only the production practices of immersive virtual journalism - such as the reporting and recording of stories in virtual-world scenarios via Open Simulator, an open source multi-platform, multiuser 3D server application - but of the impact of this emerging, evolving form of journalism on audiences, especially media-averse youth audiences. At the conclusion of this experiment, the answers to the following questions will be more clear: Does the immersive, personalized nature of virtual world journalism resonate more with youthful audiences than in traditional journalism? Do college students believe that it provides a richer, more empathetic experience in news consumption? What can traditional journalism learn from immersive virtual world 53 journalism? Can it be the savior of or at least a consequential complement to traditional journalism?

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The JJIE Virtual World Journalism Project: Experimenting with Virtual Worlds as an Emerging Journalism Platform

Although immersive journalism in the virtual world was pioneered by journalist and documentary filmmaker Nonny de la Peña years ago, traditional journalists are just now discovering its potential as an alternative platform to report the news. This study explores the singularities of immersive journalism in virtual worlds using the "Marginalized Youth Voices Amplified on Virtual Worlds" project, which a journalism professor at a southern public university received a grant to develop. The grant came from an Online News Association Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, and has been involved in efforts to produce 3D-scenario machinimas (action videos inside virtual worlds) to tell real-life journalism stories of the youth in the juvenile justice system. The project deploys the principles of traditional journalism in the virtual world to re-create the experiences of youth in the Georgia juvenile justice system. As the project's student researcher, I plan to discover what journalism professors, students and professionals can learn from this nine-month experience of using virtual world platforms to tell real-world journalism stories. Using a combination of ethnographic and survey research, this study will undertake a structural analysis of not only the production practices of immersive virtual journalism - such as the reporting and recording of stories in virtual-world scenarios via Open Simulator, an open source multi-platform, multiuser 3D server application - but of the impact of this emerging, evolving form of journalism on audiences, especially media-averse youth audiences. At the conclusion of this experiment, the answers to the following questions will be more clear: Does the immersive, personalized nature of virtual world journalism resonate more with youthful audiences than in traditional journalism? Do college students believe that it provides a richer, more empathetic experience in news consumption? What can traditional journalism learn from immersive virtual world 53 journalism? Can it be the savior of or at least a consequential complement to traditional journalism?