No. 40: SXSW, Racial Divide, AI Ethics

By on March 5, 2021

Happy March! We are excited to share a couple updates from the 2020 Journalism 360 Challenge winners.

“Reeducated” is premiering at South by Southwest’s Virtual Cinema this month. The project uses hand-drawn pen-and-brush drawings and reconstructive digital architecture to explore the rise of surveillance technology and police force in Xinjiang, China. This short film, produced alongside the New Yorker, follows the recollections of three men sent to the region’s notorious internment camps and sheds light on the human rights abuses being committed in one of the most inaccessible places in the world.

A first look is now available for “The Racial Divide.” The project uses photos, 3D models and photogrammetry techniques to tell a story about how Syracuse’s I-81 overpass has affected the community and changed once-thriving Black and Jewish neighborhoods.

Learn more about the 2020 challenge winners →


Podcasts on the craft. This curated selection of podcasts about VR, immersive storytelling and more includes offerings in English, Spanish, French and Italian.

Ellen Reid’s “Soundwalk.” Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Reid has created a GPS-enabled work of public art that uses music to illuminate the natural environment. “Soundwalk” is tailored to the environment (cities include New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and more) and the experience changes depending on the path taken.

What’s happening in AI ethics? In December, Google fired Timnit Gebru, leader of its AI ethics team. The incident has brought up important questions regarding equitable technology: Who is funding and building these algorithms? How can bias and harm be reduced? How can the needs of marginalized communities be centered as AI continues to be developed?

Why a self-driving car hit a pedestrian. Logic Magazine published a feature explaining the basics of machine learning and how bias becomes encoded. It’s a good explainer of how training data helps an algorithm in a self-driving car learn how to see, and how that can go wrong.

The story of slowing currents. For its new article exploring how climate change is affecting the Atlantic Ocean, the New York Times built an interactive globe to help readers visualize changes in the Gulf stream that scientists fear will have dangerous consequences.

Engaging the immersive future. On March 10, NYC Media Lab is hosting a one-day conference exploring Black Lives Matter, activism and immersive storytelling.

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

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