School of Journalism Partners with Smithsonian Latino Center

The School of Journalism at Michigan State University is excited to announce a strategic partnership with the Smithsonian Latino Center (SLC).

​This long-term sustainable partnership will focus on SLC's online expansion project that will in turn create experiential learning opportunities for Michigan State student journalists interested in Latino culture. The students will research and design interactive, informative and engaging experiences for those who visit SLC's online digital initiatives. This unique opportunity has been made possible by the Smithsonian Latino Center through its generous sponsors such as The Walt Disney Company and Target.

​The Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum Educational Advisory Committee selected MSU’s School of Journalism as a strategic partner because of the school’s effective use of immersive journalism strategies to engage audiences. MSU will aid the Smithsonian Latino Center in research and design of eProducts and services as they apply to the Smithsonian Latino Center’s rebranding initiative.

​“We are excited to partner with Michigan State University’s School of Journalism to create immersive learning experiences using faculty and student knowledge of state-of-the-art virtual reality technology, animation and 3D modeling that will showcase Latino programing, research, collections and outreach,” said Melissa A. Carrillo, Director of New Media & Technology, Smithsonian Latino Center.

​Conference attendees at the recent Immersive Education International Summit held at the University of Paris experienced the immersive 360-degree animated interactive Oculus Rift version of the Smithsonian LVM Placita, created by the MSU School of Journalism.

​SLC offers collective experiences and resources in a transmedia virtual museum model that relate to the representation and interpretation of Latino cultural heritage.

​“This collaboration creates the highest level of scholarly research and industry-level production experiences for our students,” said Lucinda Davenport, Director of the MSU School of Journalism. “This real-world opportunity will help our students to be better prepared to exceed the current expectations that await them in the industry. We greatly appreciate the partnership opportunity and generous support from the Smithsonian Latino Center and its sponsorship partners The Walt Disney Company and Target Corporation.”

​The goal is that anyone can learn about Latino culture with the use of innovative technologies to immerse themselves in digital storytelling. MSU Journalism Professor Stacey Fox will head the initiative and work with students to produce animated stories, interactive and animated comics, immersive 3D journalistic works for Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. The students also will produce iBooks, games and augmented reality experiences.​

​Lucinda Davenport, Director of MSU's School of Journalism, meets with Juanita Roman from the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum for strategic partnership talks at the Sorbonne, Paris, France.​

​The MSU-SLC partnership via the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum (LVM) was showcased at the recent Immersive Education International Summit held at the University of Paris (Sorbonne). Using Oculus Rift technology, audience members could “walk around” and experience the interactive and animated LVM Placita through MSU’s prototype.

​Davenport and Fox presented at the Sorbonne in Paris with Carrillo of LVM and Disney Animation Studios. Davenport met with the Smithsonian LVM team and its other strategic partners from commercial industry and higher education, including faculty from the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP).

​Fox presented on immersive journalism and led several workshops. She co-taught with Katie Fico, award-winning Stereoscopic Supervisor at Disney Animation Studios, on Storytelling Through Animation with an emphasis on culture, while demonstrating the 3D scene and character design for the LVM Día de los Muertos celebration. She also led a workshop on interactive immersive environments.​

​Katie Fico, Stereoscopic Supervisor, streaming live from Disney Animation Studios in California for teaching workshop with MSU Journalism Professor Stacey Fox on Animation Storytelling and Culture.

​MSU’s School of Journalism has partnered with the Smithsonian Latino Center’s Latino Virtual Museum on other projects. Last fall, students produced media content for the Día de los Muertos Festival and in 2016 students will create an immersive experience that features works by Latino artists, in collaboration with the University of Illinois-Chicago, to be shown in April at the international Latino Art Now conference. In addition, students will develop several animated episodes, interactive comics and 3D augmented reality interactive experiences leveraging Google Cardboard technologies.

​For more information on MSU’s School of Journalism, visit For more information on the Smithsonian Latino Center, visit For more information on the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum transmedia project, visit