Phoebe Connelly, executive producer of video at The Washington Post, and Danese Kenon, assistant managing editor of visuals at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette led College of Media students and faculty in a series of experiments and training in immersive video and visual stories in VR and 360°.

Connelly and Kenon were College’s Spring 2016 Innovators-in-Residence in the Knight-funded program that partners faculty and industry innovators to co-teach an immersion course in experimental journalism, exposing students to emerging media technology and creating new practices for the industry.

In collaboration with Ogden Newspapers Visiting Professor in Media Innovation Nancy Andrews, Associate Professor Dana Coester and Lecturer David Smith, the Innovators-in-Residence worked with students to use 360° video and audio in several real-life immersive reporting project. Students had the opportunity to work with a variety of cameras, tools and headsets, including the Ricoh Theta, Matterport, Kodak PixPro SP360, Go-Pro 360°Hero rig, and others as they experimented with new story models.

“Telling stories in 360 allows us to bring readers to the center of an unfolding story—but it also brings new challenges when constructing a narrative,” said Connelly. “We’re sorting out these issues as a profession, and this class offers students the chance to work through the same questions journalists are dealing with in the field right now.”

As executive producer of video, Connelly is the product owner for video technology and oversees production of original video at The Washington Post in Washington, D.C. She has coordinated major event coverage, including the 2014 midterm election and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Previously, she was involved in crowd-sourced projects and social media campaigns for Yahoo! News in Washington, D.C., where she served as an on-air social media analyst. In 2012, she was part of the team producing live streams of election coverage for Yahoo!/ABC. Connelly received her Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Literature from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.

Kenon was the assistant managing editor of visuals at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette where she oversaw the visual department (currently Deputy Director of Photography for Video/Multimedia at Tampa Bay Times – Times Publishing Co). Previously, Kenon worked as a multimedia photojournalist at The Indianapolis Star and a photojournalist at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. In 2008, she taught multimedia journalism as an adjunct professor at the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. 

#XPJRL 

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just a couple hours out of my day … #XPJRL pic.twitter.com/1cUsOtHuKw

— David Smith (@dvdsmthdvd) April 16, 2016