Closer to the Truth: The Craft of Nonfiction VR
Virtual reality is closing the gap between audiences and news headlines, ushering in a new age of immersive journalism. Audiences are no longer merely reading stories but actually experiencing them, and in the process gaining a greater sense of empathy. Panelists will discuss best practices for involving audiences in nonfiction stories, and how immersive journalism can help shine a light on important societal issues.

10/8, 4:00-5:00
Georgia King (Moderator) - Deputy Ideas Editor, Quartz Georgia Frances King is an Australian editor living in New York who focuses on culture, quality of life, and the intersection of lifestyle and science+tech. Before moving to America from her home of Melbourne—and after stints living in both India and Japan—she was second-in-command of frankie magazine, the award-winning quirky Australian women’s lifestyle title. Most recently Georgia was the editor of Kinfolk magazine, the seminal “slow lifestyle” publication, where she also edited the New York Times-best seller, The Kinfolk Home. She is now a deputy ideas editor at Quartz, where she gets to think about the big picture every day.

Gabo Arora - Creative Director, UN Gabo Arora is founder of, the United Nations’ virtual-reality lab, and has directed and produced a series of pioneering and widely acclaimed virtual-reality documentaries focusing on vulnerable populations in crisis.

Jason Farkas - Vice President, Premium Content Video, CNNVR
Jason Farkas is vice president of Premium Content Video for CNN. He works across CNN Digital's premium vertical channels, including CNNMoney, CNN Media + Entertainment, and CNN Style.

Farkas also runs Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter, CNN's Sunday program that examines the role of the media. As executive producer of the show, Farkas has managed the expansion of the program to a multiplatform product that produces a daily e-newsletter and regular digital content for CNNMoney, including the NewTube and Headliners video series.

Additionally, Farkas spearheads CNNVR, the network's virtual-reality newsgathering and storytelling operation. He led CNN's efforts to be the first media outlet to live stream a major news event in virtual reality with the trailblazing project of capturing and streaming CNN's Republican and Democratic debates. Praised by critics for ""flipping conventional wisdom on its head"" and ""pushing the brand as technologically savvy,"" Farkas continues to experiment with VR as a journalism tool for the network.

Prior to joining CNN, Farkas ran afternoon programming on Bloomberg Television, and launched several primetime shows at CNBC.

Jeff Fitzsimmons - Co-founder and Managing Director of Creative, Custom Reality Services
Jeff Fitzsimmons is an author, artist, technologist, entrepreneur, and cofounder of Custom Reality Services, a virtual reality production company whose award-winning work, Across the Line, premiered in the New Frontiers section at Sundance 2016. Fitzsimmons has worked as a pioneering video maker in Seattle's grunge scene, and he was the founder of HarQen, a next-generation voice technology company. He’s led the 3D theming of Sony’s massive Playstation tradeshow booth and was chief creative officer for a guerilla marketing firm. Besides Across the Line, Fitzsimmons produced Third Wheel, a VR comedy.

Marcelle Hopkins - Executive Producer for 360 News, NYTimes
Marcelle Hopkins is the executive producer for 360 News at the New York Times. Before joining the Times, she produced and directed virtual-reality documentaries for Frontline and Emblematic Group. In the past two years, Hopkins has received a reporting fellowship from the International Women's Media Foundation, a Magic Grant from the Brown Institute for Media Innovation, a Ford Foundation JustFilms fellowship at the Made in NY Media Center by IFP, and a United Nations Correspondents Association award. She spent seven years at Al Jazeera's UN bureau, where she produced TV news packages, interviews, features, and documentaries.

Gary Hustwit - Creative Director, Scenic
Gary Hustwit is an independent filmmaker and photographer based in New York. He is the CEO and creative director of Scenic, a virtual reality content studio with a team of 10 acclaimed documentary filmmakers focusing on nonfiction VR work. Scenic’s first batch of VR pieces will be released in November, in partnership with the Wall Street Journal and Google. Hustwit has produced 13 feature documentaries, including the design trilogy of Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized. His films have been broadcast on HBO, PBS, BBC, and television outlets in 20 countries, and have been screened in over 300 cities worldwide.