Journalism 360 announces inaugural unconference to showcase immersive storytelling projects

Online News Association receives $850,000 funding from Knight Foundation and Google News Initiative to build community and advance immersive journalism

By on May 4, 2018

Washington, D.C. — Journalism 360, a joint initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Google News Initiative and the Online News Association, is excited to announce the inaugural Journalism 360 Unconference and renewed three-year support for the initiative, including the 2018 Journalism 360 Challenge.

The Journalism 360 Unconference — July 24-25 in New York City — will be a unique opportunity to connect creators, producers, newsroom leaders and technologists in the immersive storytelling space. It’s the only gathering of its kind to focus on newsroom practices and innovations within virtual, augmented and mixed reality, as well as 360 video.

Tuesday, July 24 will feature product demos by Journalism 360 Challenge winners that were funded in 2017, including the Pulitzer Prize winning virtual reality feature “The Wall” by The Arizona Republic and USA Today Network, the Washington Post’s AR web app Facing Bias and MIT’s VR collaboration tool Voxhop. Wednesday, July 25, will offer a full day of programming, including breakout sessions, lightning talks and discussions with thought leaders from across the industry. In addition, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism will discuss their project focused on training community news organizations in 360 video creation. Registration is now open.

Applications for the 2018 Journalism 360 Challenge will open later this spring. The grants support ideas that advance the use of immersive storytelling in news. Journalism 360 will award 10 grants of $20,000 each, and will announce the winners at the Online News Association Conference (ONA18), Sept. 13-15 in Austin, Texas.

“The 2017 Journalism 360 Challenge winners are cracking the code on what’s possible in the immersive space,” said Journalism 360 Program Director Laura Hertzfeld. “The unconference is an exciting opportunity to experience these projects and for journalists to learn from each other, and I can’t wait to see the ideas we get during this year’s Challenge.”

“To meet the information demands of the future, journalists need new opportunities to explore emerging technology, experiment and take risks. Journalism 360 is working to advance this goal, while driving the imperative for journalists to collaborate and share best practices on innovative forms of news delivery,” said Jennifer Preston, Vice President for Journalism, Knight Foundation.

“We’re proud to support Journalism 360, a community of storytellers who are exploring new frontiers in journalism. The work of the community provides points of reference and education for the rest of the industry. We’re excited to see what they come up with next,” said Erica Anderson, U.S. Partnership Lead, Google News Lab.

Journalism 360 is a global network of storytellers accelerating the understanding and production of immersive journalism. Our mission is to help news organizations, journalists, technologists, content creators and journalism educators experiment with all forms of immersive storytelling, including but not limited to 360 video, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality. In 2017, the program funded 11 projects to experiment with new technology to help journalists tell more and better immersive stories.

About Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit

About Google News Initiative

The Google News Initiative is Google’s effort to work with the news industry to help journalism thrive in the digital age. The GNI brings together everything Google does in collaboration with the industry—across products, partnerships, and programs—to help build a stronger future for news. It is focused on three objectives: elevate and strengthen quality journalism, evolve business models to drive sustainable growth and empower news organizations through technological innovation.

About Online News Association

The Online News Association is the world’s largest association of online journalists. ONA’s mission is to inspire innovation and excellence among journalists to better serve the public. Membership includes journalists, technologists, executives, academics and students who produce news for and support digital delivery systems. ONA also hosts the annual Online News Association Conference and administers the Online Journalism Awards.