Category Archive: Courses

NEW 300/600: Professor Pacheco’s Digital Media Innovation 3-Pack Courses

newhouseJournalism and communications fields are undergoing constant disruption from new digital technologies. Stay ahead of the change through these three 1-credit courses from Journalism Innovation Chair Professor Dan Pacheco. Take 1, 2 or all 3 credits — it’s your choice!

All are taught by Newhouse’s Journalism Innovation Chair Dan Pacheco with assistance from industry guests and experts. They’re open to students from all majors at Syracuse University.

DAYS / TIMES: Spring 2016 courses will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 – 1:50 p.m.

COURSE 1: Interactive Data Visualization
Meets Jan. 19 – Feb. 18.
Class numbers: 44138 undergrad, 44240 grad.
Go to the class web site.

datavizJournalists who understand data and analytics are in high demand at top news organizations.  Learn where to find good data sources, “interview the data” to uncover stories, and create visualizations that you can publish online.


COURSE 2: New Product Development and Product Management 
Meets Feb. 23 – Mar. 31.
Class numbers: 44236 undergrad, 44242 grad.

Tcodingools like WordPress make it easy to publish text and photos, but if you want to do more you’re stuck in the mud. Learn how to conceptualize, define and in some cases even code your own digital products for web sites, mobile sites, mobile apps and wearable devices.


COURSE 3: New Tech for New Media
Meets April 5 – Final Exam Week.
Class numbers: 44238 undergrad, 44244 grad.

newtechGet hands-on experience with cutting-edge technologies that will change the face  of media in the future — including the Oculus Rift, Google Glass, and flying camera drones. Learn how to tell stories in a virtual-reality environment using a real, working Holodeck that uses the Rift and Unity3D gaming engine.




Please contact Professor Pacheco at drpachec at syr dot edu, or fill out the contact form.

Emerging Tech for New Media

Takeaways from the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show

By Prof. Dan Pacheco

Earlier this month I spent a few days trolling the 2 million square feet of exhibits at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show. This was thanks in part to generosity of the IRTS Foundation, which covered hotel and the CES badge as part of a faculty seminar held at the Luxor. (Thanks, Joyce Tudryn!)

My goal at CES was to find some new technologies that impact media for my New Tech for New Media class to explore in February. While I agree with people like Jack Myers that there were no truly innovative breakthrough technologies at this year’s show, I found a few unique offerings that fit into the themes of this year’s class, which is focusing on “wearable, waveable and flyable” technologies.

In some cases I was also able to post quick video interviews from Google Glass, which proved to be an effective way to get the attention of people manning popular booths. I experimented both with capturing video and one-tap uploading into YouTube. This proved to be a good way to cover a breaking event, with instant videos going online that I could later edit and annotate in the YouTube interface from my hotel room each evening.

Here are the most innovative things I found:

Displair, a touch screen made of air.

The Displair touch “screen” consists of a printer-sized device that shoots a jet of  water vapor upward to create a shimmering surface that is then projected onto from a few feet away. Sensors in the device can tell where your hands are in physical space, so it also works as a touch screen.

Here’s a video of me playing Fruit Ninja in the air. I could see this being useful for interactive advertising in retail locations, as well as media/art installations in museums and other public spaces.
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Zspace augmented reality

Intel’s booth featured a demo from a company called Zspace that pairs passive 3D glasses with a screen and pen. You use the pen to manipulate virtual objects that appear to float in the air right in front of you. While I wasn’t able to try it myself, the people going through the demo seemed to be really engaged. A 2D screen above them showed roughly what they were seeing. Here’s a video of a demo I captured from Google Glass.
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Autographer, an intelligent wearable camera

This inexpensive wearable camera takes pictures all day long. You clip it onto your shirt or jacket, open the shutter and forget about it. It takes photos all day long based on an algorithm that uses changes in light, motion, direction and temperature to determine when to take a shot. Here’s a quick Glass interview with Autographer’s marketing director James Ebdon.

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My thoughts on how this could be used in journalism and media: just as Google Glass is helping journalists capture photos that they would have missed in the 15 seconds it takes to pull out a traditional camera or cell phone, this could be another useful tool in the arsenal of the mobile journalist. But it also has obvious implications for privacy, ethics and even the law depending on what country or part of the world you’re in. Just because you can capture anything doesn’t mean that you’re allowed to use the footage.

But what else is new? As soon as cameras moved into cell phones, humanity has been in the process of becoming one big camera. These days if you walk outside you should just assume your image is being recorded and posted somewhere, likely without your permission.

Epiphany Eyewear

I ran into this Indiegogo-funded startup in the hallway of the Venetian. At $400, Epiphany Eyewear is like an inexpensive alternative to Google Glass for people who want to record ambient video, but don’t need Glass’s augmented reality features. Like Autographer, it has some implications for privacy and ethics. I fully expect to get interviewed from “social glasses” like this sometime in the future, and you should too.
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Beyond Media

Of course, there were plenty of innovations that had nothing to do with media, but may some day. Here are a few other innovations that caught my eye.

Parrot’s minidrone and jumping sumo

As an outspoken proponent of drone journalism, the only reason I categorize these new A.R. Parrot drones as “beyond media” is because the flying version has no camera, and I’m having a hard time imagining a common media use for the land-based sumo. But they sure were a lot of fun to watch, and it was incredible to see how synchronized the drones were.
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DWS Labs printers

This industrial 3D printing company now has a consumer “SLA” printer that costs $2,500. It uses lasers to solidify forms in a vat of liquid, and the creations emerge out the top. They have very high resolution and you would never know that what you’re holding was “printed.” I got a video of some of the creations in these two videos:
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After explaining this technology to studens in my Next News Startup class, one of them (that’s you, DJ Summers), made what I think is a prescient prediction. Just as companies like Wal-mart disrupted the retail business, and Amazon is now disrupting bricks and mortar retail and is looking to technologies like drones to reduce delivery times from days to hours, 3D printing technology could disrupt package delivery. In the future, how many items that we now order online with Amazon Prime free shipping will we simply print off or replicate in our homes?

Dancing Robots

At the IRTS Faculty Seminar I attended right before CES, Hunter Lloyd from Montana State University’s computer science department showed just how far consumer robotics has come along. They’ve long since moved on from vacuuming the house and are now emerging as companions with good dance moves to boot. Here’s the Nao robot he programmed.
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And finally,

No, isn’t selling himself as a robot yet, but he is getting into 3D printing. Somehow I just happened to be at the 3D Systems booth when announced he was becoming the creative officer for 3D Systems. I captured these two videos.
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I had a lucky break when he called out 13-year-old “young maker” Schuyler St. Leger, who was in attendance and happened to be standing right in front of me when called him out of the crowd. I did some research on St. Leger and found out that he’s quite the Internet celebrity and has even done his own Ignite Spark on why he loves his 3D printer.

If you’re wondering if this technology is going to change the world, wonder no longer because kids like Schuyler are hard at work making it happen. Here he is telling and 3D Systems founder Abraham Reichental how he’d like to 3D print an “extremely efficient energy production device.”
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– Professor Dan Pacheco

Posting to the NNStart class curation page

Hello NNstart class,

First, I highly highly recommend you read this piece by Gigaom’s Matthew Ingram on a court decision yesterday on Net Neutrality. It has implications for practically every type of digital media, and if left unchallenged it could significantly stifle digital innovation: This comes on the heels of news that the Supreme Court will decide on the legality of the Aereo broadcast streaming service. For better or worse, this year may very well put the entire future of the Internet in the hands of the Supreme Court.

You may also notice that this post automatically appears in the sidebar of the NNStart web site, as well as the class curation page. Wow, you must be thinking, that Professor Pacheco must be constantly working on this site to post content and make everything lay out so nicely. What kind of vitamins is he taking? Well I have news for you — I didn’t spend any time posting that content to the site. It appears automatically whenever I tweet a link and include the #NNStart hashtag. I spent more time writing this explanatory post than I did updating all of that content on the curation page.

And now you can do the same thing. This morning I added your Twitter handles to the whitelist. Whenever you post a link in Twitter with the hashtag #NNSTart, your links will eventually find their way to the curation page, which is powered by a service called Rebelmouse. It takes anywhere from a few seconds to an hour for the posts to appear. If you don’t see your post there, take a look at the #NNStart hashtag on Twitter to confirm that your posts were made. (Note: the Twitter search is how I will periodically check that you’re sharing finds for grading).

The curation page also uses a service called Spundge, but we won’t get into that just yet.

As mentioned in class, your first assignment, due Thursday (tomorrow) is to read through some of the Neimanlab predictions for journalism in 2014, pick one that resonates with you and write 3-4 paragraphs (in the Blackboard assignment, not Twitter) about how it relates to a startup idea you want to explore in this class.

As a first test of the class curation page, please also tweet a link to the post you choose to #NNStart and summarize your thoughts in 140 characters or less. We will open Thursday’s class by going through the list. I’ll choose one to present, and whoever is chosen will get extra credit for this week.

– Prof. Pacheco



NEW 400/600: Next News Startup

Meets: Tuesday / Thursday, 9:30 – 10:50 a.m. in Newhouse 3, 252.

Looking to launch a startup focused on news, information or civic media? This class can help.

Looking to launch a startup focused on news, information or civic media? This class can help.

Your big idea means nothing if it stays locked up in your head. Find out how to make it happen, and make it a success!

This course includes hands-on exercises that help you conceptualize, pitch, build and fund your own news or civic media startup. Taught by Professor Dan Pacheco, the Newhouse Chair of Journalism Innovation and an active media entrepreneur who has worked on dozens of startups at companies large and small — including his own current startup. If your goal is primarily to inform rather than entertain, this is the startup course for you!

This Newhouse course is open to any student from any major at Syracuse University. You’ll learn about:

  • Business basics.
  • Market research.
  • Rapid prototyping.
  • Pitching your startup.
  • WordPress and CMS’s.
  • Ad networks and analytics.
  • Funding and grants.
  • Data-driven visualizations.

Also, get support for running a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.


Please contact Professor Pacheco at drpachec at syr dot edu, or fill out the contact form.