Video Friday: Immersive Journalism — Nonfiction Storytelling in the Age of Virtual Reality with Nonny De la Peña

Nonny de la Peña is an immersive journalism pioneer who uses virtual reality to tell nonfiction narratives.

Immersive journalism is the use of immersive environments to convey the sights, sounds, and experience of new events. Immersive journalists utilizes 3D technology to create “full-body, first-person documentary experiences” enabling users to witness powerful and emotional news stories from a first person perspective.

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Hunger in Los Angeles places its user in the harsh reality of a downtown Los Angeles food line.

“The situation transpired at the First Unitarian Church on 6th Street in Los Angeles, when the woman running a food bank line is overwhelmed. “There are too many people,” she pants. And then, much louder, shouting in frustration, ‘There are too many people!’ Only minutes later a man falls to the ground in a diabetic coma. The line is so long that his blood sugar has dropped dangerously low while waiting for food.”

In Use of Force, participants are witnesses to the killing of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas at the hands of Border Patrol agents in California.

“When thirty-five year old Anastasio Hernandez Rojas was beaten and tasered to death by the border patrol, an incident that the San Diego coroner’s office ruled was a homicide, he was one of more than a dozen migrants who have been killed by the border patrol under questionable circumstances in the past two years.  Those deaths have recently led the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector to initiate a review into the border patrols’ ‘Use of Force protocols.’  This immersive documentary plans to highlight and create awareness of the dehumanization of migrants on our borders using a revolutionary immersive nonfiction story that employs gaming and virtual reality technologies to tell the narrative. By putting the audience on scene at the harrowing night of Hernandez Rojas death, Use of Force Protocol will provide a deeper understanding of what’s happening on our borders.”