PULLMAN — WSU and McCormick Foundation are partnering for a unique Specialized Reporting Institute that will bring together leading technology executives and journalists to examine the recent rise of new media outlets and distribution within 3D virtual world spaces. The day-long free event, held April 6 at the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, aims to explore both commercial and citizen reporting efforts through a series of panels, presentations and workshops. 
 
“The McCormick Foundation is proud to partner with Brett Atwood and WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College,” said Clark Bell, director of the McCormick Foundation’s Journalism Program. “Our reporting institutes are designed to be timely, engaging and insightful. This event should certainly fulfill our expectations and serve as a valuable learning platform for the participating journalists.” 
 
Real-world news organizations, such as CNN and Sky News, have already opened “in-world” news bureaus that aim to document and report on the emerging economy and activities within the virtual world Second Life. The Club Penguin Times, a virtual newspaper which is the main method of communicating with the millions of children around the globe who play in the virtual world of Club Penguin, attracts an average of 30,000 daily submissions from its young readers. Both Second Life founder Philip Rosedale and Club Penguin co-founder Lane Merrifield will be among the presenters at the event.
 
Former White House Bureau Chief Helen Thomas and CBS News’ Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer will appear in Second Life for an interactive Q&A session, held at 5:30 p.m. April 6 on both the real and virtual campuses of WSU.
 
The duo are the recipients of this year’s 2009 Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award in Journalism and in Broadcast Journalism, respectively.
 
ThinkBalm co-founder Erica Driver, a veteran technology analyst, will present recent research findings on “The Immersive Internet,” while CNN.com senior producer Lila King will share her experiences with bringing CNN’s i-Reports citizen journalism platform to Second Life. Bernhard Drax, an award-winning virtual world reporter and musician, will share his thoughts on the future of reporting in and around the metaverse from a blogger’s perspective.
 
“We’re excited to bring together many of the leaders in technology and journalism to discuss and explore this new media channel for storytelling,” said WSU President Elson S. Floyd. “These and other emerging forms of digital news distribution offer both promise and potential for our students and for the future of journalism.”
“These emerging 3D spaces offer fascinating new opportunities for storytelling,” said Erica Austin, dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication. “And as the traditional, newspaper-based world of journalism looks for appropriate new ways to provide the vital checks and balances vital to democracy, this event will provide a very significant catalyst for innovation.”
 
For a complete schedule of events, visit the event Web site at: http://communication.wsu.edu/virtualjournalism.
 
About the McCormick Foundation:
The McCormick Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening our free, democratic society by investing in children, communities and country. Through its five grantmaking programs, Cantigny Park and Golf, and three world-class museums, the Foundation helps build a more active and engaged citizenry. It was established as a charitable trust in 1955, upon the death of Colonel Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The McCormick Foundation is one of the nation’s largest charities, with $1.2 billion in assets. For more information, please visit www.McCormickFoundation.org.