2018 Journalism 360 Challenge now accepting submissions for immersive journalism projects

Winners will receive a share of $200,000 for early-stage projects

By on May 30, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC — The 2018 Journalism 360 Challenge is now open for applications, seeking ideas that help develop and expand best practices in immersive journalism, including narratives, ethics and production.

Journalism 360 is a joint initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Google News Initiative and Online News Association. For the second year, the challenge will help fulfill Journalism 360’s mission to help news organizations and individuals explore, learn and share new ways to use immersive storytelling. Winners will receive a share of $200,000 for early-stage projects that address the question: How might we experiment with immersive storytelling to advance the field of journalism?

The challenge is open to anyone committed to experimenting with immersive storytelling; news organizations, businesses, nonprofits and individuals anywhere in the world can apply. Applications are due by June 28, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Applicants can submit ideas experimenting with any form of immersive storytelling, including but not limited to virtual, augmented and mixed reality, as well as 360 video. Projects might build new technology, tackle new techniques to engage audiences, develop workflows for replication and iteration or help newsrooms and journalists adopt immersive storytelling tools and methods.  

The ability of immersive journalism to take news consumers to places they can’t otherwise go and tell new types of stories is a core value for the growing Journalism 360 community. Winners will receive grants of up to $20,000 and have access to Journalism 360’s ambassador team and global community.

“The challenge offers journalists the chance to experiment and test fresh, cutting-edge ideas to engage audiences and use new technology to advance better storytelling into the future,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “Last year’s winners helped to bring this nascent field of immersive storytelling into the forefront. We look forward to a new batch of creative, bold ideas.”

“Experimentation with new storytelling formats is essential in this moment of disruption and transition. The next class of grantees, like the first, will surely inspire us with new ways of looking at journalistic storytelling in the digital, immersive age.” Erica Anderson, U.S. Partnerships Lead, Google News Lab.

“Technology is changing so quickly in the immersive space, and we’re excited to see how this year’s applications will reflect the current landscape. We look forward to seeing a broad range of ideas from innovators all over the world,” said Journalism 360 Program Director Laura Hertzfeld.

Journalism 360 is a global network accelerating the understanding and production of immersive journalism. Since launching in 2017, the program has built a community of nearly 1,500 immersive storytellers and funded 11 projects. Winners of the 2017 Journalism 360 Challenge include the Pulitzer Prize-winning virtual reality feature “The Wall” by The Arizona Republic and USA Today Network, New Cave Media’s Aftermath VR app and a tool for AI-generated anonymity in VR journalism developed by the University of British Columbia.

Journalism 360 will continue to advance immersive journalism thanks to the generous support of Knight Foundation, which is investing $650,000 over three years, and of Google News Initiative, contributing $200,000.

Visit the program page to learn more and apply to the Journalism 360 Challenge: https://journalists.org/programs/journalism-360/.

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 knightfoundation.org.

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.