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.
International News Media Association + Meta
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.
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
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
Launched over two dozen immersive experiences as the head of Yahoo's XR Partner Program
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.
Bono’s book blitz and the true potential of multi-platform storytelling
By Laura Hertzfeld, Medium.com, December 2022
“Why isn’t Bono just reading and signing copies of his book at the Grove like everybody else?” — was definitely something I thought to myself when I first heard about the sold-out mini-tour the U2 frontman launched following the release of his memoir, Surrender: 40 Songs One Story in early November.
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
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
Press & Speaking
International Journalism Festival, Perugia, Italy April 2022
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.
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Laura Hertzfeld © 2022