Moving Fast at the Newseum

TrentBurnsPhotoBy Dean’s Intern Trent Burns at the Newseum

I had plenty of expectations going into my internship at the Newseum, but organization-wide layoffs weren’t among them. Roughly three weeks into my time here, an unexpected round of staff cuts left the Video & Interactive Productions department scrambling to reorganize itself. As an intern, this meant more work and greater responsibility would be falling on my shoulders for the rest of this semester – a challenge which I happily, if nervously, accepted.

Museums, it turns out, can be surprisingly fast-paced environments. Between internal content for exhibits and materials for external promotion, it feels like every week of this experience has added new projects to our already busy schedule. Along with fellow Dean’s Intern Madison Long, I’m responsible for producing recurring content like our bi-weekly “Lighter Side of News” segment or the museum’s monthly “Virtual Reality Highlights” experience. In addition, we are often asked to contribute to projects like “Experts On-Air Highlights”  or “Newseum Nights: In Bloom”, which are used to promote the museum and its events online. Working on a number of diverse projects keeps us busy and, more importantly, is teaching me to keep my editing flexible and my workflow concise.

Still, we sometimes find free time between projects or while our work is being reviewed. One of my favorite ways to fill these gaps is by learning more about the burgeoning field of Virtual Reality videography. In February, we met with Black Dot Films, a DMV-area production house specializing VR storytelling. Its founders, Max and Malvina, work closely with their former colleagues at National Geographic and have produced several award-winning pieces including “National Geographic 360: Great Hammerhead” and “National Geographic 360: Carnivorous Glow Worms”. Their work pushes the limits of VR videography, and their approach to creating immersive narratives has inspired all of us at the Newseum to think outside the box as the museum embraces more and more VR content in its exhibits.

I didn’t expect to pursue VR two months ago, but our work on the Newseum’s monthly VR Highlights has me intrigued. I’m learning more every week about the VR production process, and will continue refining those skills beyond this internship. This alone has made the Newseum internship opportunity worthwhile, and one that I’m grateful to be involved in.