Dan Schultz joins Newshouse as First Visiting Programmer in Residence

As digital technology becomes increasingly important to media and journalism, so does knowing how to work with programmers and perform simple coding. You can only learn these skills by doing them, but where does a journalist or storyteller start?

Programmer-journalist Dan Schultz, who holds a degree from the MIT Media Lab, will help answer that question when he joins the Newhouse School as its first Visiting Programmer in Residence. Schultz, who spoke at Newhouse through the Digtial Edge Journalism series in the spring, comes straight from the Boston Globe, where he spent a year as a Knight-Mozilla OpenNews fellow. He is known for work on innovative projects such as Truth Goggles, which identifies and checks facts in news stories in real time, and NewsJack, which lets people rewrite and publish headlines as a form of digital satire.

At The Boston Globe, Schultz worked with the Globe Labs to employ new innovative ways to tell stories that go beyond text, photos and video. In A Night in the Life of a Cabbie, he connected detailed transcripts of a cab driver’s evening shift to a maps that shows the driver’s pay and expenses through the night. The interactive shows how difficult it is for cab drivers to make money when only a few companies can issue the expensive “medallions” that cab drivers must purchase in order to legally provide service. Interative features like this often require journalists to work closely with software developers, and even know a little code themselves. Programmers in residence like Schultz will give Newhouse students that critical experience.

“Dan will help Newhouse students take their ideas from the drawing board to working prototypes and more,” says Dean Lorraine Branham. “We also hope that he can provide technical assistance for students who have ideas for new products, but lack the programming and coding skills to make them happen.”

While Schultz’s background is in journalism and civic media, he will work with students from all majors. Newhouse Chair of Journalism Innovation Dan Pacheco will serve as Schultz’s host in the Newspaper and Online Journalism department. Students or faculty who are interested in working with Schultz should fill out this online form, or contact Pacheco at drpachec@syr.edu.

“We already have a list of student project ideas from faculty from across the school that can leverage Dan’s expertise,” says Pacheco. “But it will be really fun to see what students dream up that none of us have thought of yet. We know students have big digital ideas, but often get stuck when they want to do something that requires a little coding. Now we can help them cross that barrier and in the process learn that coding isn’t as mysterious or scary as they may think.”

Professor Pacheco in the Press

2016 Mirror Awards Ceremony - YouTube

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  • Nonny de la Peña had this to say about Professor Pacheco after her acceptance of an I-3 Mirror Award.

    “Once the [Oculus] Facebook sale happened, $2 billion dollars, you’re not so nuts. But before that happened, a lot of people thought trying to do journalism in virtual reality was crazy...

Students, Faculty to Create Content for HoloLens Augmented Reality Headset

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  • Prof. Dan Pacheco has been accepted into the HoloLens developer program and will work with Newhouse students and faculty to create content for the device. - Dan Pacheco

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Immersive journalism: What virtual reality means for the future of storytelling and empathy-casting - TechRepublic

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  • Prof. Pacheco was interviewed by CBS Interactive's TechRepublic about using virtuality for journalism in the story: "Immersive journalism: What virtual reality means for the future of storytelling and empathy-casting." The piece also referenced Pacheco's Virtual Reality Storytelling course and included a link to a 360 video of the SU football team by class member and football player Eric Jackson...

http://storynext.gannett.com/state-of-vr.pdf

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  • Prof. Pacheco co-authored the primer on virtual reality in this report on The State of Virtual Reality in Journalism for Gannett and the Knight Foundation. - Dan Pacheco

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Daily Orange: Universities should embrace experiential media courses

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  • "There’s a virtual reality course being taught this semester in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications called Virtual Reality Storytelling. (Full disclosure: I am taking the course right now. It’s awesome.) The course’s professor, Dan Pacheco, says demand for the course is high, and for good reason in that it may set you apart in a job interview...

StoryNEXT conference features virtual reality – Hypergrid Business

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  • Professor Pacheco has been added to the advisory board for StoryNEXT, a new annual conference focused on innovators in virtual reality storytelling. - Dan Pacheco

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Recent Breakthroughs In Virtual Reality Go Beyond Simply Playing Video Games | ThinkProgress

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  • "“The more difficult and complicated the subject, the more we seem to want to close the news app and open up Candy Crush,” said Daniel Pacheco, a journalism professor at Syracuse University who specializes in VR storytelling. “VR can counteract this tendency because of its ability make you feel physically present somewhere and to comprehend information by exploring it in an almost physical way...

The Des Moines Register wins Murrow award for Harvest of Change VR Project

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  • The Des Moines Register's Harvest of Change, which was the first project to incorporate virtual reality in a commercial news setting, has won a prestigious Edward R. Murrow award. This emerged from Professor Dan Pacheco working as an innovator in residence at Gannett Digital, where he brought an Oculus Rift and knowledge of how to create VR experiences in Unity...

HoloLens Brings 3D Media Into the Physical World

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  • Professor Pacheco reports on his experience with an extended HoloLens demo at the E3 conference and provides ideas on how it could be used in journalism and media. - Dan Pacheco

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"All the President's Avatars"

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  • Professor Pacheco is interviewed by a Swedish tech magazine about virtual reality journalism. - Dan Pacheco

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Adobe Adds Mixamo 3D Animation Service To Creative Cloud Mix | TechCrunch

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  • "Students in Pacheco’s VR Storytelling course (http://vrstorytelling.org), most of whom have no 3D modeling experience, use Mixamo to easily and inexpensively add interactive characters to scenes that are viewed in Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets" -

    Welcome to the Washing Machine

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    • Prof. Pacheco predicts the future media-disrupting technologies for CommPRObiz: "Part of my job as the Peter Horvitz Chair in Journalism Innovation is to look on the horizon and identify trends that might lead the next waves of disruption. I also challenge my students to do field tests of disruptive technologies, then use what they learn to predict where things will be in another 5 years...

Our list of the best 11 journalism experiments

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  • Columbia Journalism Review just listed the "Harvest of Change” virtual reality journalism project that Professor Pacheco co-produced at Gannett as one of 11 noteworthy journalism experiments today. BDJ senior, now graduated, also contributed as a developer. -

    Virtual Reality Storytelling - From Screen to Beam : Documentary Campus e.V.

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    • Creating Your First VR Experience
      Practical tips for getting started in VR using freely available software and 3D assets. Prof. Dan Pacheco will draw upon material from his Virtual Reality Storytelling class at the S.I. Newhouse School to provide practical steps for creating interactive scenes in Unity3D that can be exported for web and the Oculus Rift...

Virtual Reality Lets the Audience Step into the Story - Nieman Storyboard

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  • "Immersive journalism is picking up now in part because the necessary technology has gotten better, cheaper, and more portable. The smartphone’s ability to stream high-definition video as well as its increasing popularity—58% of Americans had one as of January 2014, according to Pew Research—have further accelerated adoption...

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