Theresa Poulson
Jul 23 · 3 min read

Immersive, 3D experiences will continue to change the way we document our lives and communities — and we have an incredible opportunity to shape what that looks like.

We’re announcing applications for our second Storytellers in Residence cohort, offering you the chance to bring your unique brand of magic to our dynamic team.

The possibilities for creating and distributing 3D content are growing every day. The second iteration of our program aims to capitalize on this momentum in order to create new storytelling experiences for the communities McClatchy serves.

Last year, our first cohort produced two augmented reality series for Actual Reality for Android: What They Carried and American Food. This year, we will continue to experiment with mobile AR story formats and we will also collaborate on 3D projects with McClatchy newsrooms across the country.

We learned a lot the first time around: We employed new AR story formats and tackled the challenges of quickly gathering 3D assets in the field, producing multiple episodes in a short time frame and adding context and depth into the tiny window of a mobile experience.

We made 45 drone flights that spanned 34,787 feet. We built about 160 photogrammetric models from roughly 50,000 photos. We wrote about 5,000 lines of code. And it was all fueled by 1,350 cups of coffee (plus a good amount of hot chocolate, green tea and ibuprofen).

Through continuous user testing, we learned audiences are moved and motivated by the content. So we know we’re on to something. But there’s more work to be done. The medium is still ripe for discovery and we’re working to refine and expand our production techniques, build new features in our app, and do it all while working with users to perfect the experiences.

Storytellers in Residence in Sacramento will create an original series for Actual Reality in collaboration with our savvy team that includes an experience producer, technologist, developer and 3D artist.

In addition, we’re adding a new challenge: Collaborate with McClatchy newsrooms on projects to reach our communities. To get this done, Storytellers in Residence will work with one or more of our newsrooms to add another layer to McClatchy journalism with volumetric and spatial media.

Collaborations could look like this feature about homes that survived the catastrophic Paradise fire in Northern California. Or this exploratory piece giving readers a deeper understanding of the events surrounding the death of a Sacramento police officer.

Or, a Storyteller in Residence could produce a newsroom-branded Snap Lens for a community event. We have many more ideas — and hope you’d bring lots, too.

A photogrammetric model of a home that survived the Paradise fire details the fire-resistant construction features that might have saved the home while others perished. Read the full story from The Sacramento Bee.

The Storytellers in Residence experience kicks off with a boot camp covering design thinking, journalistic standards, the tech stack, immersive audiences and distribution. In the weeks that follow, you’ll prototype your project, gather user feedback, publish content distributed to audiences and explore options for monetization.

You’ll finish the program with a body of work and a bevy of new skills. Hear it straight from our first cohort:

Who are we looking for? You’re a doer. You love learning new things and inventing new approaches. You’re willing (and eager) to work quick and dirty to get started, and then turn up the production value for the polished, finished product. Collaboration comes naturally to you, and you welcome input and feedback as you iterate. Media experience may or may not be on your resume, but you believe in the power of journalism.

Applications are open to individuals or teams of two. If applying as a team, team members should have complementary skills. You challenge one another and you’re stronger together. You work well as a team, but can also forge new relationships with other colleagues.

When you apply, highlight any experience you have with:

  • Photogrammetry or other 3D capture techniques
  • Game engines or other AR/VR assembly tools
  • 3D graphics software
  • Volumetric video production

And, of course, sell us on your superpower. We know you have one.

Apply here by Aug. 9.

McClatchy New Ventures Lab

We are a destination for creators to come together and advance nonfiction storytelling. Here we'll share what we learn in an effort to prepare storytellers for the future, equally valuing technology, creative and business.

Theresa Poulson

Written by

Let's talk about Jersey, soup and AR. Exploring NorCal and directing a new program for immersive storytellers at McClatchy New Ventures Lab

McClatchy New Ventures Lab

We are a destination for creators to come together and advance nonfiction storytelling. Here we'll share what we learn in an effort to prepare storytellers for the future, equally valuing technology, creative and business.

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