Symposium debuts Murrow virtual training space

PULLMAN – A 3D newsroom will be unveiled by the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication as part of the Murrow Symposium Tuesday, April 20.

The newsroom will be accessible through the virtual world of Second Life. It will consist of a series of multimedia kiosks showing videos and lessons on good practices in citizen journalism. It also will contain an auditorium for classroom meetings and live presentations, as well as a mini-museum dedicated to legendary broadcaster and WSU alumnus Edward R. Murrow.
The project was a collaboration between the Murrow College and the Center for Distance and Professional Education, said Brett Atwood, clinical assistant professor of journalism. Dave Cillay, associate dean and director of distance programs, and Brian Maki, media production manager for distance programs, worked with Atwood. Students Aaron Brown and Kayla Sheeley designed the newsroom.
A global audience will be able to access events and workshops via videostream or Second Life, Atwood said. They will connect with professionals using voice and text chat in the 3D environment. Participants using Second Life will be able to use shared media to simultaneously experience and present Web content like websites, videos, etc. Videos explaining this technology can be found on YouTube at
Atwood, Murrow College Dean Lawrence Pintak and clinical assistant professor Ben Shors will develop learning modules to be displayed in kiosks in the 3D newsroom as part of a new online citizen journalism training initiative, known as “The Murrow Standard.”
The newsroom is part of a larger $45,000 Specialized Reporting Institute initiative funded by a grant from the McCormick Foundation, Atwood said. There is no cost to WSU, he said.
The 3D newsroom’s debut event will be Virtual Journalism Summit 2, two question and answer sessions with leading journalists and technology executives that are part of the Murrow Symposium. Participants in this year’s event will include executives from National Public Radio, the Seattle Times and  The 2009 virtual summit, which featured executives from CNN and Disney, was part of last year’s symposium.
Held in the CUB auditorium, the sessions also will be accessible for free online via videostreaming and inside Second Life. Attendees using Second Life will be able to ask questions and interact with presenters. Details about these “mixed reality” sessions can be found here.
“Students and aspiring journalists will be able to access these free lectures at any time, but we think one of the real benefits will be the future distance-based events that we’ll schedule in this 3D space,” Atwood said. “We hope to bring in various guest lecturers who might not travel to Pullman for an on-campus visit. They can ‘log in’ and chat with students and even present multimedia using the shared media technology.”
A video tour of the Murrow 3D newsroom can be found here.