New engagement day, virtual reality, and Twitter rage: this week’s Fresh Powder Report

Today is the third annual News Engagement Day! As a society we’re less interested in the news than ever before, and this in spite of the volume of 24/7 live-feed platforms. News Engagement Day is all about re-prioritizing the news and clicking back in; it’s about getting informed and finding value in staying informed. Today, theAssociation for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication encourages everyone to consume the news and to interact with it: read, watch, listen, comment, tweet, post. Whatever you decide, get back on board with the news. How will you celebrate News Engagement Day? Share your plan, and keep spreading the word!

Building civic engagement through journalism… class.

Kids who take journalism classes are more likely to vote later in life, according to a study by two University of Kansas professors. And there’s a correlation to socioeconomic background, too. Read all about it, and give yourselves at pat on the back, you journalism educators, you. You’re helping to keep civic duty alive.

Freedom of hate speech: the problem with Twitter

What happens when you open a platform devoted to freedom of speech and openness and, incidentally, anonymity? You get a big ol’ steaming pile of hate and vitriol. You get Twitter, apparently. The decade old social media platform that once prided itself on being the platform for free speech is now struggling to address abusive and threatening, often anonymous, posts. That comments are limited to 140 characters seems only to inspire the artful distillation of hatred, and Twitter doesn’t know what to do about it. With Twitter now possibly seeking a buyer, it seems totally possible that we are witnessing the death rattle of Twitter as we know it.

The storytelling limitations of VR

It’s all about immersion these days. When it comes to digesting the world around us, we want to be all up in it. So the advent of virtual reality storytelling is not surprising and, if I’m being honest, it’s pretty cool. Check out this 360 vid of the Blue Angels flying in formation. Now you don’t even need to get off your couch, let alone get into a tiny plane, to have the experience of a lifetime! What is surprising about this newly minted method of storytelling is that, even given our insatiable desire to experience all the things all the time, there remain some experiences that are not enhanced by fully immersive reportage. Like fashion shows. Or awards ceremonies. It turns out that fixed-point observational experiences look worse in VR. Makes sense, doesn’t it? You wouldn’t turn around in your chair at the Grammy’s and stare at the audience behind you, would you? So it’s a learning process. Also, VR is expensive. Read all about the Associated Press’ year long research on VR here.

And if you want to know how publishers intend to market to the perennially short-of-attention millennial generation, check out Circa’s plan for ad-supported VR.

These things also happened last week:

Kim Kardashian West was robbed of $11 million in jewelry after being bound and gagged by five masked men in her Paris hotel room. Appropriately, if slightly surprisingly, Kayne West abruptly ended his NYC concert upon hearing the news, citing a “family emergency.” Kardashian West is safely back in the U.S., having fled Paris immediately after the robbery.

In other news, Curious George celebrates his 75th birthday this year! Incidentally, Curious George creators Hans Augusto and Margret Rey also had to flee Paris when the Nazi’s invaded during WWII. Surely, their narrow escape by means of a single bicycle must have been almost as traumatic as Kardashian West’s devastating loss of travel jewelry.