ASU’s Cronkite School receives challenge grant for innovative virtual-reality project


ASU’s Cronkite School has received a grant to fund a virtual-reality project that would allow journalists to add statistics, data, pricing and other information on particular neighborhoods through data overlays on VR footage.
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The Data Real tool would allow journalists to add statistics, data, pricing and other information on particular neighborhoods through data overlays on VR footage. Users would search neighborhoods by entering a ZIP code.

“This grant will help our students push the limits of storytelling through cutting-edge technologies,” said Kristin Gilger, Cronkite School senior associate dean. “We sincerely appreciate the support of Google News Lab, Knight Foundation and the Online News Association.”

The Cronkite School’s project was one of 11 challenge winners in the contest. The winning projects will help advance Journalism 360’s mission of developing an international network of journalists to explore and share knowledge about their work in immersive storytelling. This is the third time the Cronkite School has received a challenge grant with Knight Foundation support.

Cronkite’s New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, which connects journalism, computer engineering, design and business students at ASU to create pioneering media products, will work on the Data Real project over the next several months. They are invited to the ONA conference in Washington, D.C., in October. They also will share their findings at a special Journalism 360 demo day in early 2018.

Retha Hill, director of the New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, said the Data Real tool will enhance VR experiences by allowing users to more deeply interact with the content. Users could explore a neighborhood by wearing a VR headset and interact with data around them by clicking on 3-D visualizations with a controller that reveals information such as crime statistics, school data, dining information and more.

“The data visualization tool will help storytellers bring localized data alive,” Hill said. “I can’t wait to see what my colleagues in journalism will do with the tool once it is available. My students in the lab can’t wait to get started.”

The New Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab was conceived…

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