Andre Deak works as a multimedia producer at the Brazilian digital agency Liquid Media Lab. The Lab’s projects aim to create social impact and change. He teaches innovative storytelling at the Department of Journalism at ESPM and is the coordinator of Hybrid Formats Lab.
This playlist includes projects which made me understand that journalism could take so many different forms, merging with other fields such as activism, marketing, video games, and storytelling. When something like this happens, I call it “hybrid journalism.” The result can be grafitti, infographics, geolocated media, artistic interventions on the streets… Anything could fit, as long as a part of it is based on the premise of journalism.
I was there at the beginning of the internet. During those days, these were the type of narratives we all dreamt of. Here are some projects I show to my students which always receive the same reaction: Wow!
River of Mud is a 360-video that portrays the survivors of Samarco Dam's failure in Mariana, Brazil.
This "simple" 360° video reminds me of the first time I saw this technology when CNN made a 360° video from Haiti. It was the most accurate description of the earthquake that smashed the whole country. In a similar fashion, River of Mud depicts a Brazilian village which was destroyed after the collapse of the Samarco Dam -- the worst environmental disaster of the country.
InfoAmazonia provides news, reports, data and crowdsourced stories on endangered regions of the Amazon forest.
Winner of the Google Social Impact Prize in 2014, InfoAmazonia is a great project because it has established initiatives such as creating hardware to detect the quality of water in the Amazon forest. Not only they got seed money to create this hardware, but they also distributed this information directly to the people who most needed it. Now, local inhabitants receive an SMS when water is good to be consumed. When we think of journalism, we rarely think of creating hardware but here is a great example.
A wrestling game between famous philosophers which walks the user through the history of thought.
Filosofighters was the first Brazilian success in "newsgames” and it was used to teach philosophy. The initial idea of the game was sketched on a paper napkin during a happy hour. The creators were laughing about Simone de Beauvoir throwing a bra at her opponent or Nietszche smashing people under a dead God (all of these are in the final version of the game). It is really an entertaining way to give students a first impression on famous philosophers.
Explore the frozen town of Fort McMurray and the tangled web of consequences fueled by the get-rich-quick mentality of its inhabitants in this groundbreaking documentary game.
Fort McMoney was my first experience with a webdoc that uses a videogame approach. It was mind-blowing then, and is still a great example of how to present a fragmented narrative with game aesthetics.
Pop-Up Magazine is a live magazine, created for a stage, screen and a live audience.
This project mixes many languages: Documentary film, photography, radio, performance and music — all live on stage. Is this journalism? Does it matter?
The immersive audio installation narrates the capture of thirty environmental activists on the Greenpeace ship "Arctic Sunrise," on a real-size replica of the vessel.
Some of the most innovative journalism pieces are being developed by NGOs. They produce a strong impact on the audience, arouse curiosity and spread the message; they have the same objective as any traditional journalism piece. One great example is Arctic 30 -- journalism in the format of an exhibition. I show this project to my students and they ask me if this is journalism. I like to reply by quoting what Adrian Holovaty said about data-journalism: "Who cares? I hope my competitors waste their time arguing about this as long as possible."
Project Syria uses new virtual reality technologies to put the audience “on scene” and experience the plight of Syrian children at the civil war, in a truly visceral way.
Another case of a journalistic and activist art installation. Nonny de la Penna, the godmother of virtual reality and journalism, upgraded the concept of VR for me. For the first time, I could dream about reconstructing places and putting the user inside them. Medieval castles, wars, historic buildings... Any place in the world and anytime in history. One thing is to tell a story or to show a documentary about it. Let's say, Dachau: What if you could walk in and talk to people there? What impact would such work have on you? Project Syria is the first step on that walk; it shows me the potential of VR for historical stories.
"Question Bridge: Black Males" facilitates conversations within the African American male community across political, class, geographic, and generational divisions.
Question Bridge is an innovative transmedia project that facilitates dialogue between black men from diverse backgrounds and creates a platform for them to represent and redefine black male identity in America. The innovation about this project is not only the interactive online platform, but the whole idea. It could be transformed into an NGO; it could be a never-ending project. I think the best projects are not only final products but something alive, updating and ever growing. It is beyond journalism; it is a living document.
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