News Programming

Friday, October 26, 2007


Isn’t it about time your nightly news was delivered by an avatar? No that's not already the case! But it could be in the future. Thanks to a new project called News At Seven. Chicago Public Radio’s Shawn Allee explains.

Comments [6]

naturenewjunkie from OK

If they wanted to be all symbolic about it they should have used Max, max max Headroom. It's not a new idea and it isn't a good one either. Avatar's cannot be held responsible for the fourth estate and as such should not represent the fourth estate. There are some things that just don't need to be done.

Mar. 26 2010 12:30 PM
Brian Jacob from Maplewood, NJ

No mention of Ananova? I realize that "she" hasn't been around for a few years, but that project certainly paved the way for this one.

Oct. 31 2007 11:58 AM
vern fross from nashville tn

interesting topic and excelent reporting

Oct. 29 2007 01:00 PM
Doug Fisher from Columbia, S.C.

Barrin's comment is well-taken. Actually, it's a National Science Foundation grant that is funding the project. And that raises some interesting questions about the federal government and journalism, doesn't it, since it is getting harder and harder to separate journalism from the technology. Having said that, fed funding or not, it is likely to have happened eventually. Younger generations increasingly are not particularly tied to the medium delivering their news and information -- nor, by extension, to the people (or machines) delivering it. Already some TV stations allow online users to assemble their own newscasts. Anchors need not apply.

Oct. 28 2007 12:48 PM
Seg from San Rafael, CA

It should be of note that the avatar pictured and quoted as "Alex" is actually the character Alyx Vance from the computer game franchise Half Life 2 created by Valve.

The NWU team took the software that runs the game, known as the Source Engine, in order to quickly generate a high-quality 3D model for the project. The voice for News at Seven is synthesized as the voice is performed by Merle Dandridge.

The current version as released this week by NWU moves away from using the Source Engine as the licensing of the Source Engine and more significantly the art assets from Half Life 2 prevent the wider freedom for the NWU project.

More info:
Alyx Vance (Half Life 2 character)

Valve Corporation

Oct. 27 2007 07:24 PM
Barrin from NYC

The students at NWU are having fun developing this program but they are enabling the corporate media to eliminate jobs and control what is called news. Rewriting wire services which already exhibits "press release journalism" will make any original journalism too expensive and labeled rogue and unimportant. Is NWU getting a grant from Rupert Murdoch,Disney,Viacom????? Universities needs to spend finds from the high tuition on research that will benefit society not destroy it

Oct. 27 2007 11:50 AM

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