• Laura E. Hertzfeld: Storytelling Innovation

    Newsvagabond.com was born out of the notion that stories come from unexpected places. I take a holistic approach to content creation and curation, pairing journalists and artists with the right teams and opportunities to make their stories come to life in new ways. Sometimes that's augmented reality or virtual reality production, other times it's relationship building with a photographer, gallery, news organization, or podcast.

  • Consulting

    Specializing in digital innovation and community building, NFT and web3 strategy, and AR/VR production.

    Cover of report on XR Media

    International News Media Association + Meta

    Lecture series

    Presented a series of introductory talks about the current immersive news landscape to business leaders at major news organizations in Europe and Asia audiences, sponsored by INMA and Meta.

    ○ Insights were published in a blueprint report, March 2022.

    Journalism 360 +

    Online News Association

    Community of immersive storytellers

    Over two years, built and grew a community of more than 1,500 journalists working on immersive storytelling initiatives at a wide range of news organizations around the world.

    ○ Led and managed a grant cycle of $250,000 with Knight Foundation, ONA, and Google News Initiative. In 2022, partnered with Journalism 360 to launch a series of XR tutorial videos.

    Emblematic Group

    Online strategy for new VR product

    Consulted on content strategy for WebVR project Reach, an innovative new tool which allows participants to place themselves in 3D scenes using only a camera and the web. Spearheaded by ‘Godmother of VR’ Nonny de la Pena.

    ○ Premiered at Sundance New Frontier, Jan. 2019

    NBC Olympics

    Social media-driven web series

    Produced two daily shows from the 2016 Rio Olympics, one on the daily medal count (sponsored by McDonald's) and one driven by athlete's social media, one of the first projects at NBC to incorporate social into Olympics coverage on a regular basis.

    ○ Won Sports Emmy for Transmedia Coverage

    Livestrong + Leaf Group

    Writing and editing wellness content

    Managed freelancers on weekly basis and created original series on wellness and travel for Livestrong and Leaf Group. ○ On Your Feet featured original photography and walking guides for 5 cities in the U.S.

  • Immersive Work

    Launched over two dozen immersive experiences as the head of Yahoo's XR Partner Program

    Selected projects

    Used drone technology to capture and place in AR four murals by street artists in Los Angeles that went up in Summer 2020, following the death of George Floyd. The one above took up an entire city block near the famous Hollywood Laugh Factory on Sunset Blvd. The project was featured on Yahoo News and the L.A. Times and was covered by Art Newspaper. This marked the first collaboration between Yahoo News and the L.A. Times.

    Using research from Equality Labs, used verbatim reported to recreate the feeling of discrimination experienced by many in the tech industry who have immigrated to California from South Asia, as reported in the Los Angeles Times. The piece was featured via QR code in the Sunday edition of the L.A. Times, innovating both on experience and distribution for XR.

    With the Yahoo/RYOT team, created 50 original tattoo-inspired "I Voted" AR face filters that voters used to share their excitement about the 2020 presidential election on social media and built original social content to support the campaign.

    Ahead of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Yahoo News spoke with survivors and children of parents who died that day about what they have preserved to remember those who were lost, and asked them to photograph the objects. Yahoo’s immersive storytelling team has used a process called photogrammetry to convert those photos into 3D models and paired them with interview audio from the subjects.

    ** Anthem Awards Silver Medal winner

    Migaloo, an endangered white humpback whale sacred to the people of Minjerribah off the coast of Queensland, Australia, was interpreted by artist Delvene Cockatoo-Collins. Yahoo/RYOT converted her art into a 3D model that can be placed in space anywhere to help share the whale's story worldwide.

    A project of the pandemic, I team up with Alex Gradet to discuss the merits and place in history of the musical RENT. 10 episodes including interviews with BroadwayCon founder Melissa Anelli, Freestyle Love Supreme's Anthony Veneziale, and more.

  • Writing

    Selected stories and publications

    By Laura Hertzfeld, Medium.com, July 2022

    While product and strategy can’t change the fact that we’re covering wars, political unrest and climate change, we can create more human-centric design to tell stories in ways that resonate.

    By Laura Hertzfeld, Medium.com, June 2019

    I came into my year as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford hoping to explore my own creative side and learn how seeing myself as a creator and not only a curator might better inform my work. It turns out, learning from artists can help inform all of our work. [more]

    By Laura Hertzfeld, RottenTomatoes.com, August 2022

    Watching The Bear is an immersive experience. Viewers are taken behind the scenes of an intense restaurant environment, exposed to the emotional trauma of a family losing a loved one to suicide, and given a bird’s-eye view of the plight of a neighborhood going through gentrification. [more]

    By Laura Hertzfeld, Livestrong.com, April 2018

    A walking guide for Los Angeles? Are we crazy? [more]

    By Laura Hertzfeld, Entertainment Weekly, January 2014

    When Robert Redford set out to create a place for independent filmmakers to show their wares 30 years ago, he didn’t know it would become the behemoth star-filled event that is Sundance today... [more]

    By Laura Hertzfeld, Entertainment Weekly, January 2012

    He has his critics, but Andrew Lloyd Webber is nothing short of a master at knowing what makes a musical a hit. [more]

  • Press & Speaking

    Selected features

    International Journalism Festival, Perugia, Italy April 2022

    Hour-long panel summarizing what it takes to future-proof your newsroom and take a deeper look at tools, product and technology to set you up for the journey into the Metaverse. (Link to video)

    International News Media Association, March 2022

    A new report, based on INMA’s six-part master class series, “How newsrooms can creatively use and report on XR,” in partnership with Meta, provides a blueprint for news media companies to navigate the new “reality” landscape.

    Vox, April 2019

    In fact, most competitors haven’t attempted to use Holzhauer’s strategy, realizing they likely won’t win. “I went in geared up, but realistic,” said Laura Hertzfeld, who competed on Holzhauer’s fifth game. After all, the game passes in a blur, and strategy is easier executed from an armchair.

    The Art Newspaper, October 2020

    An expert view brought to you by an XR panel of artists and storytellers who create in virtual reality and augmented reality.

  • Laura E. Hertzfeld

    Laura E. Hertzfeld is an Emmy-winning writer, editor, and producer with over a decade of experience in news and entertainment, helping media brands develop their online content, engagement, and distribution strategies. Most recently, she was director of the XR Partner Program at Yahoo RYOT Studio (formerly Verizon Media Group). She is a mentor for the current cohort of New Inc artists at the New Museum in New York City. As a 2019 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, Laura completed research on the intersection of art, immersive technology, and journalism. This work built off her role as director of Journalism 360, an immersive storytelling initiative supported by Google News Lab and Knight Foundation. She has been a featured speaker on immersive storytelling at SXSW, AWE, Digital Hollywood, Art Table, and more.

     

    Before venturing into the world of XR, Laura worked in broadcast and digital media as a senior producer on “Larry King Now” and at NBC won an Emmy for her work on the 2016 Rio Olympics. She started her career on the original Yahoo News team and was an editor at Entertainment Weekly/EW.com and PBS.org. A graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, she has reported on politics, business, entertainment, and lifestyle topics at a variety of outlets, including NPR, Rotten Tomatoes, and Los Angeles Magazine. LinkedIn

     
    About NewsVagabond.com
    This site's first iteration was a blog —News Junkie & Vagabond — documenting my travels across the U.S. in the early aughts, highlighting unique places and people from Tennessee to Truth or Consequences. I finally settled in Venice, California with the idea of creating permanence to have impermanence and the ability to travel, learn, work, and return home to L.A. — a place that has storytelling innovation in its DNA. This philosophy carries over into my work today with news organizations, artists, and filmmakers.

  • Have a project that needs some love? Get in touch.