Journalism students to cover papal visit with social media app

All of Pope Francis’s first New York City visit will be recorded online, as the NYU Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute is partnering with the multimedia reporting app Evrybit to document his weekend long stay in the city. The partnership will allow journalism students to practice their reporting and interviewing skills as well as iPhoneography in a live news setting.

Eric Ortiz, the creator of the app and now-CEO of the startup, said Evrybit allows everyone to produce a story in a very mobile, fast and efficient way.

“We’re looking to perform long-standing collaborations with organizations and universities,” Ortiz said. “NYU’s journalism program is a great fit, because they’re very forward looking, open to experimentation and they want to be on the cutting edge of media and journalism.”

He decided to collaborate with longtime friend and NYU journalism professor Yvonne Latty on their second project together  — their first multimedia reporting venture did not receive a grant.


Lori Grinker, a fellow photojournalism professor, joined the project immediately and said the opportunity is valuable for her students.

“They get to confront people they don’t know to take pictures and to get information,” Grinker said. “It’ll be a hectic situation with very little access, so they have to try making a story out of that. They’ll have to think outside the box.”

Still, not everyone is excited for the Pope’s visit. Some see the additional foot traffic as a nuisance and inconsequential affair. Those not of the Catholic faith don’t find the Pope’s presence a particularly important matter, such as Liberal Studies freshman Lois Evans.

“He’s really essential to Catholics’ spirituality, but as for pertaining to my life? It pretty much doesn’t,” Evans said. “Though it must be important for journalism seeing that it is a current and active aspect of life.”

However, Latty is stressing a 360-degree view of this event, extending beyond just Pope Francis’s presence and his activities.

“It’s [for] the little abuelita from the South Bronx who took three trains to come to see him,” Latty said.

The papal visit sojourns in New York City from Sept. 24-25, and between the seven professors who joined the project, approximately 100 journalism students will participate in the coverage.

CAS junior Fortune Onyiorah said the students have to capture the essence of the Pope’s visit in 45 seconds, including using interviews and showing the public’s reaction. She added that what makes it fun is that there’s no editing involved, and the students are jumping into the most modern form of journalism.

“Live, raw footage is a nice deviation from the streamlined media coverage we see on the news today, and I’m glad to be covering such a historical event,” Onyiorah said.

Email Diamond Naga Siu at [email protected]



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