The University of British Columbia’s International Reporting Program is an initiative aimed at teaching and producing enterprise global journalism. Housed at the UBC School of Journalism, the program offers second-year journalism graduate students the opportunity to tell under-reported global stories, which are shared with the public through partnerships with major media companies.
This year, the International Reporting Program partnered with VICE News to tackle a public health story 30 years in the making: the silent rise of HIV in Chile. To tell this story, students embarked on an intensive reporting trip, travelling across the country from rural border towns in the north, to the indigenous heartland in the south and the urban metropolis of Santiago. Along the way they spoke with medical professionals, activists, government officials and people from all walks to life living with the disease, to explore the public health and governance challenges that the surprising rise of HIV is putting on Chile.
While reporting this important story about HIV, the team also found a growing migration problem. Throughout Chile, people moving around the country for work – internal and external migrants – have been pushed to the margins of society and are living in poverty without proper support from the government. This is leading to rising tensions.
These two intertwined stories are told through the eyes of VICE News host Daniel Hernandez in two documentaries and also using virtual reality.
The project presented a unique opportunity to explore new forms of immersive storytelling. Using 3D and 360 degree cameras to capture interviews and scenes, the IRP fellows produced a virtual reality documentary, which will compliment and enhance the traditional 2D documentaries. The virtual reality documentary will take viewers beyond the numbers and invite them into intimate conversations with people living with HIV, as well as those who are dedicating their lives to preventing the continued spread of the disease. Guests will also have the opportunity to learn how the students captured footage for virtual reality in a special behind the scenes film.