Apply ‘Expedia Dream Room’ to making a news experience & you see future of journalism

The “St. Jude Dream Adventures” campaign consisted of a temporary 360-degree installation at the hospital that “transported” the children to Cordoba and Talampaya Park in Argentina, Monkey Jungle in Florida and the Great Maya Reef in Mexico. In it, they experienced the locations’ natural wonders — from fossils to colorful sea-life to wily monkeys — in real time. Expedia employees whose own lives had been affected by serious illneses were on location as personal tour guides to show the kids the sites.

Read the full piece at Creativity Online

One of the Newsplexer Projects’ multiplatform media producers and editorial technologists brought this video to my attention yesterday — and warned me to have tissues ready when I watched it.

It is indeed an emotionally moving story. Who won’t smile or even tear up a bit seeing frail little Keira reach out to try to touch a wild horse in Argentina from the confines of her treatment environment at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital? I’ll second the tissue warning.

But for the media futurists and fusion journalists of The Newsplexer Projects, the light bulb turned on with the next scene of young Hannah walking into Expedia’s 360-degree live-stream visual experience room and into the middle of a school of yellow and black-striped fish.

She’s amazed. We’re amazed. Anyone would be amazed being able to walk into middle of a live visual experience like that.

But imagine if that live visual experience, rather than being a nature hike, were almost any real-world situation that you could think of, that you were interested in, and that you could simply walk into your personal home Dream Room to become part of. Imagine it it’s just anybody walking into that room rather than just these precious children. We might be looking here at the next generation of both television and today’s much-touted but clumsy virtual reality gear.

Indeed, we might be looking at the future of digital storytelling.

Any doubts in that direction are wiped away a few moments later when curious Snyder, appearing to stand in the middle of a paleontological dig, excitedly calls out, “What’s that?” To which the scientist on the other end of the connection kneels down, brings the visual in closer and answers his question.


Now in my mind I see a journalist kneeling there, streaming a news situation from someplace and interacting with the story’s community, giving a report, pointing things out, answering questions, making it real, making it an experience, not just content. With information and content having become a commodity too easily replicated or ripped off or obtained in a heartbeat from any of hundreds of sources, it’s the experience that differentiates a news activity.

All of a sudden you realize we’re not just looking at horses, fish, dinosaur bones, the next iteration of home theaters and cool digital storytelling. We’re looking at the potential future of journalism and the journalists themselves.

I want one.