pedagogy | Students | SXSW


Five Journalism + Design students received scholarships to attend SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas this year. Check here for daily updates on what J+D Director Heather Chaplin and our students — Alex Gerald, Cody Davis, Odalis Garcia, Sterling King, and Tamar Lapin — are learning, experiencing, and sharing from the conference. You can also read their personal takeaways on the #jdsxsw blog  — and don’t forget to follow #journalismdesign on Twitter and @journalismdesign on Instagram!

March 17-18: Adios, Austin

Our five J+D students have returned to frigid New York City and are bracing for yet another snow storm — not to mention missed classes and loads of unfinished homework. But before they left sunny Texas, they stayed up late and pumped out a few more articles based on their #SXSW2015 experience.


Late night brainstorming session! #jdsxsw #newschoolsxsw #journalismdesign

A photo posted by Journalism + Design (@journalismdesign) on



Does virtual reality have a place in journalism? More than a few people would say yes, reports Alex Gerald. At a panel on Tuesday, leaders in non-fiction virtual reality storytelling said that the technology can conjure up powerful emotions in users. “In a few years time it’ll become something we don’t really think about — just another tool in our kit,” said Jason Mojica, editor-in-chief of VICE News.    



Tamar Lapin was less interested in the virtual, and more interested in the reality. “The cost of living has increased,” a pedicab driver told her, “but there’s also more diversity, better food and more things to do.” In her swan song, Tamar explores how SXSW has changed Austin, and how Austin has changed SXSW — all through the eyes of the infamous pedicabs.


Cute Robots


Meanwhile, over at the “Robot Petting Zoo,” Cody Davis interacted with a handful of robots — some cute, some not so cute. His photo story includes the little guys shown above, who intimately asked him, “What is one thing you’ve never told a stranger before?” It also includes a terrifying “flying monkey drone,” and the story behind these imaginative, social robots.



SXSW is, of course, all about outlandish new technologies — see the adorable talking robots above. But sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of old technology to make a big difference. Odalis Garcia reports on the impact that technology and social media can have on LGBT youth — and how something as simple as a cell phone can save someone from living on the streets.    



And last, but by no means least, Sterling King compares fashion predictions from 1939 with some of the modern-day innovations discussed at SXSW. Among them? Shapeshifting garments (coming soon), an electric belt that controls body temperature (also coming soon, though it may not be in belt form), and a wedding dress made of glass (we’re still waiting on that one, unfortunately).


final SXSW sunset|| you’ve been good to us austin!

A photo posted by Odalis G (@inwonderland3) on



Read the rest of the students’ posts from Austin on their SXSW blog! And don’t forget to follow #journalismdesign on Twitter and @journalismdesign on Instagram to stay up-to-date on what’s happening with the program.    


March 16: VEEP, Racial Identity, and Transportation in the 21st Century    


Our J+D students were just a little excited to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus in person yesterday…

Don’t mind us fangirling over the cast of #VEEP here at #SXSW #jdsxsw   A photo posted by Journalism + Design (@journalismdesign) on

  …but Odalis was able to settle down for a more serious panel on Latinos…

Check out Odalis’s  blog post, “Sticking to Your Roots,” about another panel she attended on Afro-Latinos.    Cody, meanwhile, was all about modern-day transportation…

   …but even Lyft can’t match the allure of a pedicab on a beautiful Austin day.

Hey! Odalis wasn’t the only student to write something about #SXSW — be sure to read Tamar’s piece about a panel discussion on satire and Charlie Hebdo, as well as Alex’s take on an hour-long event about mind clones.      March 15: Scary Tech, Charlie Hebdo, and Mushroom-Based Clothing First up? Our future.

    Then Odalis & Tamar get serious about satire…

  …while Sterling contemplates a new wardrobe. 

  It’s a lot of work…

       …but we think they’re having a pretty good time.

Lol, this guy at the @knightfoundation County Fair. #journalismdesign #newschoolSXSW #SXSWInteractive A video posted by Cody Davis (@rolsem) on

March 13-14: Getting Settled in Austin


New schoolers checking out the bike share program in Austin #sxswinteractive #newschoolsxsw   A photo posted by Journalism + Design (@journalismdesign) on

        …And on to the panels!



  And, of course, the shenanigans: