hell and high water: vr

Project: Hell and High Water: VR

Class: JOUR 490: Directed Research

Hell and High Water: VR is a series of immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences based upon Hell and High Water, an investigative report written by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune about Houston's vulnerability to a "monster" hurricane. It provides users with a unique perspective on the hurricane's potentially devastating effects on the economy and environment, the science behind the storm and the individuals affected.

These stories were created in Jovrnalism, a directed research class focused on VR journalism under Professor Robert Hernandez at USC. During the course of the investigation, our team collaborated on original reporting, editorial strategy, design and technical development of the VR experiences.

The project received support from Google News Lab, Mettle, Radiant Images and Knight Foundation.

See below for press releases about Hell and High Water: VR:
- USC Annenberg students find new purpose for virtual reality in journalism
USC Annenberg team uses virtual reality to tell a potentially disastrous story

homelessness in los angeles

Homelessness is an immense social problem in Los Angeles that strikes a stark juxtaposition to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Every night, thousands of people around the city sleep in shelters or on the streets. Many of them are homeless for different reasons, whether it be poverty, rising rents, domestic violence, mental illness, substance abuse or a combination of all the listed reasons.

During my sophomore year of college, I visited Skid Row, the largest homeless area in Los Angeles, with my church fellowship. While I was there, I had the opportunity to chat with many homeless individuals. Hearing their experiences firsthand made me realize that many of them had unique stories and insights that challenged my preconceptions about homelessness. Furthermore, our conversations inspired me to use my journalism skills and resources to tell a more balanced and wholesome story about homeless people in Los Angeles.

Below are some articles I wrote relating to homelessness. To the right is a video news story I created about Skid Row:

1.     Voices of Skid Row: Kenny (A conversation with a homeless man who once lived with J. Paul Getty)

2.    Voices of Skid Row: Monica (A conversation with a diabetic homeless woman)

3.    Homelessness in District 11 (An investigation into homelessness in West Los Angeles)

4.    An Alternative Reality in Skid Row (A profile about Kokiri Lab, a wearable technology space in Skid Row)

The fighting philanthropist

Project: The Fighting Philanthropist

Class: JOUR 435: Writing Magazine & Non-Fiction

The Fighting Philanthropist is a feature story about Andrew McGregor, founder of the Tiziano Project, a non-profit organization that taught journalism to people living in war-torn countries as a means to create jobs for them. He is also a filmmaker, writer, entrepreneur and inventor who is currently working to create a robot that collaborates with African giant rats to detect land mines in an efficient and safe manner.

ptsd: a lonely battle

Project: PTSD: A Lonely Battle

Class: JOUR 310: Investigative Reporting

PTSD: A Lonely Battle is an investigation into the relationship between PTSD and law enforcement, and the potential dangers that police officers in Los Angeles face every day. It also tells the tragic story of Alex Salazar, a LAPD officer who was seriously injured by gang members and has suffered from PTSD ever since.

Click here to see an infographic we made regarding PTSD.

the future of la's green economy

Project: The Future of LA's Green Economy

Class: JOUR 309: Introduction to Online Media

The Future of LA's Green Economy is a profile of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator, an organization aimed at accelerating the development of cleantech startups in Los Angeles. It also tells the stories of the Toy District, a nearby area housing many stores that sell affordable consumer goods and technology.


Project: Opodz Brings Technology, Startups and Coworking To Little Tokyo

Class: JOUR 309: Introduction to Online Media

Opodz Brings Technology, Startups and Coworking To Little Tokyo is a profile about Opodza coworking space and hub for startups in Little Tokyo. To the right is a gallery of some photos of the space.

video stories

The first video, Minimum Wage, was submitted as a project for a class called Reporting: Broadcast. It is about a proposed minimum wage hike in Los Angeles. The footage was taken in the USC area and Watts.

The second video, Boulevard Villa Eviction, was also submitted as a project for Reporting: Broadcast. It is about the impending eviction of residents in Boulevard Villa.