Global spotlight for virtual reality tools created at Ohio University

Published: March 8, 2023 Author: Ken Klein

Scripps College of Communication graduate Ken Klein shares news about Scripps students, alumni and faculty via social media. Here is Klein’s recap of February 2023.

As America focuses on police training, Ohio University developed headset immersion tools that teach law enforcement how to deal with people in tough situations.  

The February issue of Police Chief published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) features effective training created by experts at the Scripps College of Communication.

A comprehensive bylined article by John Born, visiting assistant professor/executive in residence in the Scripps College of Communication and the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Service, and John Bowditch, associate professor in the J. Warren McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies and director of the Game Research and Immersive Design (GRID) Lab, shared these points broadly with law enforcement via their published report:

  • Virtual reality training tools built at Ohio University are low-cost, effective, relevant and well-received by police in southeast Ohio
  • Soft skills (dealing with people) are fundamental to police, public safety and trust
  • Ohio University is an innovation leader in developing relevant uses for virtual reality training in law enforcement, healthcare and other fields

Faculty engagement

The Ohio University Speech and Debate Team
Photo by Ryan Grzybowski
  • Ohio University’s Speech and Debate team coached by Jennifer Talbert, John A. Cassese Director of Forensics in the School of Communication Studies, won the Ohio Forensics Association State Championship for the fourth year in a row. Ohio University students took six first place awards at the state championship tournament hosted by John Carroll University on Feb. 17-18. 
  • Dr. Laeeq Khan’s analysis of Twitter chatter about Elon Musk and Tesla was published by Automotive News. Khan is an associate professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies and director of the Social Media Analytics Research Team (SMART) Lab.
  • Josh Antonuccio joined the board of Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville. Antonuccio is associate professor and director of the School of Media Arts and Studies and director of the Ohio University Music Industry Summit. Announcements have begun for the April 5-6 summit’s all-star line-up of expert guests and speakers. No-cost registration opened February 21.
  • Kansas City Chiefs uber-fan Roger Cooper witnessed the Super Bowl in Phoenix, as graduates of his OHIO-in-LA program continue to break into entertainment, music and media.

Scripps and the big stories

Memphis Police video:

  • The Atlantic published Wesley Lowery’s analysis of history, racism and law enforcement excess (Feb. 8). Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Lowery was 2017 Ohio University commencement speaker and editor of The Post 2011-2012. Lowery’s latest book (“American Whitelash”) is out July 27, 2023.

The Grammys:

  • Nick Ruhenkamp (Communication Studies/Media Arts and Studies ’20) worked the Grammys Show in Los Angeles. Ruhenkamp is a talent assistant at The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Super Bowl:

  • In Athens, freshman sports writer Robert Keegan penned a sharp opinion piece in the student-run The Post criticizing pro football officiating. Keenan’s mentor at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati was Ohio University-trained journalist Howard Wilkinson of WVXU.
  • In Phoenix, Hebah Abdalla Lehmann (BSJ ‘92) covered the Super Bowl for German TV (ZDF). Abdalla Lehmann is director of the Scripps-in-DC program (internships, networking and classroom instruction).
  • In Los Angeles, Micah Fluellen (VisCom ‘20) created animation for a pre-Super Bowl multi-media story in the Los Angeles Times.
  • In Kansas City, Joe Hennessy (BSJ ‘20) and colleagues at KCTV Channel 5 aired blanket coverage including Hennessy’s report about the Chiefs Super Bowl jets.

State of the Union Address:

  • Award-winning photographers Drew Angerer (Viscom ’12) of Getty Images and Haijun Jiang (MFA ‘22) at The New York Times produced images seen around the world.

Mid-American Conference sports:

  • Media Arts and Studies Sophomore Kyle Schwieger proves that underclassmen get hands-on experience. His much-watched video of an alley-oop game winner by Ohio University’s Women’s Basketball team on Feb. 11, was shared by the NCAA’s high-traffic MarchMadnessWBB account.

E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at 100

Jessica Hill 1
Jessica Hill. Photo by Vanessa Abbitt
  • United States Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio joined the year-long celebration by publishing a tribute in the Congressional Record Feb. 9: “Scripps alums are leading their industries, whether it is broadcast, print or digital media,” the Senator said. “Scripps is rooted in the values essential for a democratic society, the values of truth, accuracy, and independence. I can't think of better values to instill in the next generation of journalists.”
  • On Feb. 16, Jessica Hill (BSJ ‘19) posted this summary about her training at Ohio University: “The classes I took exposed me to all types of journalism, from Professor Debatin’s environmental reporting class to city council coverage that sought to hold public officials accountable. They prepared me for whatever path I decided to take.” Hill is political reporter at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.