By Erica Anderson, Partnerships and programs at Google Labs in New York City
NEW YORK - We know that advances in virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality will produce richer journalism and give audiences new ways to relate to news. Yet there are significant storytelling, technical, and ethical challenges around these new technologies, which is why we’re helping to build capacity for creative experimentation through the Journalism 360 Challenge grants.
In partnership with the Knight Foundation and the Online News Association, the grants provide a total of $250,000 for projects that can advance the field of immersive storytelling for journalism. The grants are open to global entries and welcome applications from journalists, content creators, developers, or educators. Each applicant can apply for up to $35,000.
At the Google News Lab, we’re investing in helping journalists embrace immersive storytelling through training, product development and community building. With our involvement in Journalism 360, we want to help journalists learn more about the application of immersive storytelling, experiment with new technology, and share learnings and best practices with each other.
The challenge opened on March 8 and closes April 10 at 11:59pm ET. Once the submission period is closed, entries will be reviewed, ideas will be selected, and winners will set off to embark on their projects. The end of the working period will culminate in an opportunity for the journalism community to hear what’s been in the works and how it can inform or shape their own immersive journalism efforts. More on those dates, soon.
Here are the sorts of questions the applications might tackle:
Ideas that use mixed reality, virtual reality, augmented reality and 360-degree video to engage audiences.
Ideas that can provide best practices for replication and iteration across the field.
Ideas that help democratize immersive storytelling tools and methods for news organizations.
In the meantime, the Journalism 360 team will host a series of in-person and virtual events to answer questions. Check out the list of events here and dive into the FAQ with any questions. And be sure to follow @Journalism_360 for the latest.