Category: NTNM Lecture Notes

3/29/2018 Lecture Notes: Field Tests

12:30-12:40: Finds

12:40-1:10: Field Test pitching

Come prepared with a 2-3 minute verbal pitch about your planned field test. Address the following at minimum:

  1. The technology you will use.
  2. Your media hypothesis for how it can be used, including scenarios for the test (as just one example, the specific topic, event or story subjects).
  3. Briefly describe the test plan.
  4. What problems do you anticipate may come up, and how will you work around them.
  5. What is your plan B.

After your pitch, put your name in the voting booth along with a one-line description of your test.

1:10: Voting!

For the rest of class….

You will be free to work on your field test. This can include writing up plans or using specific technologies in the lab, or elsewhere.

I will also bring the VR backpack and system into the classroom for those who want to try it. A new experience for the Ready Player One movie just came out and I have it installed on there so you can go into the Oasis if you like. We can also build Unity environments in real time that you walk into, if anyone wants to experiment with that.

Final note: please remember to fill out the evaluation for this class!


3/27/2018 Lecture Notes: HP Sprout, HP VR backpack

12:30-12:40: Housekeeping

  • Finds
  • Please fill out the field test survey
  • Ready Player One opens this weekend. It has lots of application to things we talk about in this class!
  • Extra credit opportunity: 3D print something you design. Take a photo of it in your hand and upload in the assignments tab under Extra Credit.

12:40-12:50: New toys to play with!

12:50-1:15: Unity

  • Basic demonstration on how to create a VR environment in Unity using the SteamVR Plugin.

1:15-1:40: Field trip

  • Let’s go see where the Sprout and VR Backpack are now and see what we’re able to do with them.
  • If possible, we will demo what we created in First time trying this!


3/20/2018 Lecture Notes: Sensor Journalism

12:30-12:40: Finds, and Assignment 3

  • Let’s check out new finds in the slackchat
  • Anyone feel good enough about their chatbot for the class to talk with it?

12:30-12:40: APIs and data privacy

  • Facebook, Cambridge Analytica and the election
  • Discussion

12:40-12:50: Field test 

  • The field test is due Thursday, April 26 midnight.
  • Here are a couple examples:

12:50-1:15: Sensor Journalism Presentation

1:15-1:25: Arduinos

1:25-1:40: Pair up and go shopping!

  • Find a partner and go through together.
  • Find examples of two sensors that could be used to tell stories in interesting ways. They can be used individually or together.

1:40-1:50: Present

  • Each team presents about your sensor journalism ideas

Assignment 4

3/8/2018 Lecture Notes: Work on your Chat Bot

Today you can work on your chat bot for the assignment that is due Sunday. See links to chat bot creators and other info from Tuesday’s class notes.

If you are interested in how to create skills for Amazon Echo / Alexa, Professor Pacheco will show the Alexa Skills Kit. The Alexa is also set up in the Innovation Lab today for those who want to experiment with it. Here are some tutorials from Amazon:

The skills creator gets a little developer-ey, so you may also want to look into Dexter which is supposed to make it easier. You build a chat bot there, then click a link to turn it into a Skill. The hardest part is to set up an Amazon AWS account, which is not that hard.

Please let Pacheco know if you would like him to enable additional skills found here: I have already installed the following:

  • CNN
  • NPR
  • NPR One
  • BBC
  • Washington Post
  • ESPN
  • The Daily Show
  • The Daily from The New York Times
  • Wall Street Journal
  • The Economist
  • USA Today
  • NASA Breaking News
  • Trump Impeachment Clock 🙂 (Try also asking it what Trump just tweeted).
  • Miami Herald News
  • HuffPost

3/6/2018 Lecture Notes: Chat bots and conversational interfaces

12:30-12:45: Housekeeping

  • Review of last assignment
    • Reminder: You need to post the link in Blackboard too, in addition to Slack Chat! If you didn’t do that, please don’t forget tomorrow!
    • A couple of you have already turned in.
    • Connor
    • Cara
  • Finds from slackchat

12:45-1:10: Chat bots: the context

  • Tech Crunch bot
  • Most major news providers are experimenting with bots. See a few stories about that.
  • Conversational interfaces – KPBC
    • See slides 114-131 in the 2016 KPBC’s Internet Trend report.
    • KPCB predidts that by 2030, 50% of jobs we do today will be replaced by robots.
    • Today’s chatbots are accurate 95% of the time. When speech recognition gets to 99%, we will all be using voice much more often than our thumbs to get information.
  • Amazon Alexa Skills
  • The Knight Center for Journalism even offered a MOOC on chat bots for journalism.
  • Quartz has a Bots News Lab dedicated to making bots.
  • They use Dexter, and it has an interface that lets you enable your chat bot for Alexa. It looks like there’s a good quickstart guide to create a bot. We will experiment with this on Thursday.
1:10-1:30: Let’s make a chat bot!

1:30-1:50: Start working on your own chatbot

  • Use ChatFuelDexter or another chat bot creator your find to make a bot that works with Facebook Messenger. Publish a blog post that has a link to the bot. Explain the purpose of the bot, what information problem it tries to solve, and what you learned in the process of creating it.
  • Make it informative about a specific topic, or representative of an organization or person (make sure you have permission).

3/1/2018 Lecture Notes: 360 video part 2, and Unity

12:30-12:40: Housekeeping

12:40-1:10: Editing and publishing 360 video in Adobe Premiere

1:10-1:30: Unity 

  • This is a little more advanced, but Unity is pretty easy to figure out if you put in the time. I will go through the following.
    • Getting around the Unity environment
    • Making a simple scene
    • Creating a terrain and applying a texture
    • Using the Asset Store
    • Adding items from the Asset store to your scene
    • Adding 3D sounds to your scene
    • Moving through your scene using a First Person Controller
    • Exporting your scene for Mac or PC
    • Saving your project files to your portable hard drive
    • Loading your project and/or scene on an Innovation Lab PC

1:30-1:50: Work on Assignment 2

  • Assignment 2 is due next Wednesday, March 7 (not Sunday this time 🙂
  • You have two choices for this assignment. You can either create a 3D environment in Unity, or you can publish a 360 video with 2D text effects and a custom nadir patch using footage we shot on Tuesday.If you choose to create something in Unity, use QuickTime to create a screencast of your scene and upload that into YouTube and embed it into a blog post where you describe what you were trying to illustrate in the scene, and share some ideas for how you could use Unity and VR for another type of journalistic story. Submit the blog URL with the assignment and also share it in the Slack Chat in the #blogposts category.

    If you choose to publish a 360 video, export it from Adobe Premiere, making sure to check “Video is VR” in the export settings. Upload the video into YouTube and make sure YouTube interprets it as a 360 video. Embed the YouTube video in a blog post where you describe what you did, and share some ideas for how you could use 360 video for another story. Submit the blog URL with the assignment and also share it in the Slack Chat in the #blogposts category.


2/27/2018 Lecture Notes: 360 Video

12:30-12:45: Housekeeping

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2/22/2017 Notes: 3D Web

3D, part one.

12:30-12:40: Housekeeping

  • Slackchat: please say hello after you join.
  • How Slack works. Did you know there’s a Slack mobile app? It works pretty well, too.
  • Share news there that you find about what we cover in class. See what I shared about Facebook …
  • Please download the Trnio app for IOS, or Scann3D for Android.

12:40-1: Overview of the 3D Web

  • AFrame, for creating 3D / VR stuff in a web browser.

1-1:10: What have students done with these technologies in the past? Here are two examples:

1:10-1:25: 3D Depth Cameras and Photogrammetry

  • The Structure Sensor and how it works.
  • What is photogrammetry?
  • What is videogrammetry? See
  • The Trnio app (iOS) and Scann3D (Android).

1:25-1:50: Work on creating a model for Assignment 1. You can:

  • Scan yourself or a friend (note, I will have to do an in-app purchase for your model).
  • Create a 3D model with one of the photogrammetry apps
  • When you have something, upload it to SketchFab and annotate it. Then embed in your blog post and share your thoughts about the potential for the 3D web for journalistic storytelling.
  • Feel free to also try out on the Vive, or Sketchfab on the Oculus.

5/2 Lecture Notes

12:30-12:40: Field test and Vision Paper

  • Both the field test and vision paper are due Thursday, May 11 midnight.
  • The vision “paper” is not a paper, it’s a a short scifi story about what your media career looks like 5 to 10 years in the future as influenced by the technologies we have covered.
  • Here are a couple examples:

12:40-1:10: Sensor Journalism Presentation

1:10-1:15: Arduino demo

1:15-1:50: Assignment 5

Thursday’s class:

Remember, as mentioned in the syllabus, we are required to meet one last time and that is scheduled for Thursday at the same class time as usual. If you can’t make it because of a final exam, consider that your “one class you can miss for any or no reason.” If you can make it, we will meet in the innovation lab and you can use the time to work on your field test.

4/20/2017 Lecture Notes

12:30-12:40: Review

On Tuesday we started learning how to create chatbots. Here are links to the info and services we went over.

Your Third assignment is to create a Facebook Messenger chat bot using The topic of the bot should be something informational. This could be a topic in the news, information about an event (future or historical), a science topic, information about Newhouse, etc.

12:40-1:10: Amazon Skills

Today we will look into voice-based assistants, specifically Amazon’s Alexa and Alexa “Skills,” which are like voice-activated apps for the Amazon Echo.

  • Demo of how Alexa works.
  • Installing Alexa Skills.
  • Creating a conversation tree with PullString, and (theoretically) how to publish that as a voice-activated Alexa Skill. You can also use PullString to create a basic chat bot for other services.
  • You can also try creating an Alexa skill using Amazon’s new Skills kit and its Builder Beta tool.

1:10-1:30: IFTTT