No. 35: Hello From Robert Hernandez

By on September 4, 2020

“Greetings immersive storytellers, I am Robert Hernandez, your new Journalism 360 Program Manager, working alongside ONA Director of Programs Jennifer Mizgata and the Journalism 360 ambassadors. You may also know me as the USC Annenberg digital journalism professor who created JOVRNALISM, or as a former ONA Board member.

“As we all know, the immersive community is a small but strong group that thrives through our collaboration and mutual support. That is something I hope to continue and expand in my time with this program.

“While the pandemic has changed our 2020 plans, it has proven to be an opportunity for the immersive community to help lead a new era of storytelling (and gather via social VR!).

“Whether it is through the grants or the workshops, please know I and the team are all here to support you as you continue to grow and evolve your immersive skills.

“Be on the lookout for news about the grants, the announcement of the immersive journalism Online Journalism Award winner (check out this year’s finalists) and how we might gather and collaborate in this historic moment. Do not hesitate to reach out to me at to volunteer for or ask for help from Journalism 360. Thank you and I look forward to working with all of you.”

ONA has released the schedule for ONA20 Everywhere, which includes some exciting sessions on machine learningAI and more on the way.

ONA is also accepting pitches for lightning talks envisioning the future of journalism after COVID-19—a perfect opportunity for the forward-thinking members of this community.

We’ve been testing out some fun ways to gather using immersive tech like High Fidelity and Mozilla Hubs. Reach out to if you’d like to get involved with planning a meetup.

Register for ONA20 Everywhere →


Immortalizing BLM Murals. Yahoo News and the Los Angeles Times collaborated to capture murals depicting George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in VR, so viewers can continue to experience their impact after they’ve been taken down.

Reconstructing Scenes. The New York Times wrote about its approach to photogrammetry and spatial journalism in a piece that demonstrates how giving readers a chance to explore an environment enhances an experience.

Imagine a 3D Media. “My colleagues would say, with their fingers literally wagging in my face something like, ‘You can’t do that. It will never work.’” Emblematic Group CEO Nonny de la Peña talked to Immerse about her career and her thoughts on the future of immersive storytelling.

Reality Check. “The question should not just be about its long-term viability, but rather, about how emerging technologies can complement our existing storytelling practices.” Explore Churchill Fellow Jano Gibson’s report on the impact of immersive journalism.

Black Rock City. When news came that Burning Man was cancelled, it occurred to longtime attendee Greg Edwards that the images he’d been capturing for an immersive project might come in handy. Artists jumped in with contributions, and the result is a perfect reconstruction of the camp in AltspaceVR.

Insights: Emerging Tech. Discussions during our summer mini-conference ranged from how to build inclusive gaming experiences to looking at trends in the field with Verizon Media’s Alex Wallace. Access the session recordings via the name-your-own-price registration.

We always welcome your comments, links and other inputs to future issues. Send tips to Look for the next edition on Oct. 2.

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