2020 Journalism 360 Challenge Winners

Twelve projects led by creators from around the world that seek to help develop and expand best practices in immersive journalism, including virtual, augmented and mixed reality, will receive a share of $100,000 as winners of the 2020 Journalism 360 Challenge. The challenge is a joint initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Online News Association. Read more in the winners announcement.

The 12 winners of the 2020 Journalism 360 Challenge include:

An End-to-End Guide for Photogrammetry with Mobile Devices

New York Times Research and Development Team

Project lead: Woraya (Mint) Boonyapanachoti • New York, NY • @NYTimesRD

Our project will teach photographers how to take mobile phone pictures, process them, and deliver high-quality 3D models using a simple and accessible workflow.

Expanding the Circle: Black Women in XR

Cronkite School of Journalism/Arizona State University

Project lead: Retha Hill • Phoenix, AZ • @rethahill

The number of Black women working in immersive journalism are few and this project seeks to rectify that by
training Black professors to learn and teach the technology and, therefore, help shape it by extending this knowledge into the Black community at HBCUs and institutions with a high number of students of color.

AR For Everyone! Experiencing Augmented Reality News Stories in the Browser

The Brown Institute for Media Innovation

Project lead: Ziv Schneider and Juan Francisco Saldarriaga • New York, NY • @BrownInstitute

AR For Everyone! Will explore and document how to develop and embed browser-based, marker-less AR elements in news articles, alongside text and mapping elements.

Youth Citizen Journalists Sharing Experiences of COVID-19 in Rural South Africa

Sunshine Cinema

Project lead: Sydelle Willow Smith • Cape Town, South Africa • @SunshineCinema

To empower young people in rural communities with the tools and training to use the power of 360 media to cover the impact of the long term socio economic impacts of COVID-19.

A VR Project with The New Yorker

Sam Wolson

Project lead: Sam Wolson • Waterford, MI • @samwolson

This 360 VR project uses reconstructive digital architecture and hand drawn watercolor cel animation to bring to life an otherwise inaccessible space.

WebAR Producer Training Series

Yahoo News

Project lead: Henry Keyser • New York, NY • @yahoonews

Yahoo News senior XR journalist Henry Keyser gets you started as an XR storyteller with this ten-part video course meant for 3D beginners.

In memoriam: An augmented reality experience to mourn and honor N.J.’s COVID-19 victims

NJ Advance Media (NJ.com & The Star-Ledger)

Project lead: Ashleigh Graf • Woodbridge, NJ • @njdotcom

A vast virtual memorial in one New Jersey park will help readers safely gather to mourn the thousands of residents lost to the coronavirus.

The Racial Divide: How I-81 Ripped Apart Syracuse’s Community Fabric

S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Project lead: Dan Pacheco, Professor and Chair of Journalism Innovation • Syracuse, NY • @pachecod

We will use immersive media such as 360 photos, 3D models and photogrammetry to help Syracuse residents visualize the past, present and future of the land occupied by the I-81 overpass, parts of which were once thriving Black and Jewish neighborhoods

The Spatial Podcast Project


Project lead: Jonathan Cohrs • Woodstock, NY • @splnlss

A webXR toolkit for narrative spatial audio production and distribution

Magic in the Desert

Wild Wimmin Films

Project lead: Cristina Kotz Cornejo • Boston, MA • @ckotzcornejo

MAGIC IN THE DESERT is an immersive VR/MR journey through the complicated history of Argentina’s attempt to form its national identity on the extermination of Indigenous people told through Mapuche/Tehuelche leader Antonio Modesto Inacayal’s time in captivity with his family in the Museum of La Plata and the eventual return of his remains to his birth place in Patagonia.

Historias Inmersas: “Cero no es un numero para empezar”

Freelance. Credit: Creative Director

Project lead: Oluwafemi Agbayewa • Medellin, Colombia • @femiagbayewa

Reimagining Medellin, Colombia as a VR/AR immersive city using a workshop incubator that places storytelling and journalism tools in the hands of Medellin’s diverse residents.

Project SHELL

Yellow Wood Immersive

Project lead: Ronald Baez • Miami, FL • @baeronald

Project SHELL is an interactive VR project exploring South Florida’s stunning land, surf, and undersea environments as well as environmental threats and hazards to wildlife from the unique perspective of sea turtles.