Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Immersive Learning

February 22, 2011

Online global news organization Circle of Blue has partnered with a select team of Ball State University students for a comprehensive multimedia reporting project focused on how China's demand for energy is outpacing its freshwater supply.

The venture joins Ball State's immersive learning program in multimedia journalism with the world's foremost online news and science organization covering the global freshwater crisis.

Over the next few months, Ball State students and Circle of Blue staff will produce path-breaking interactive graphics and on-the-ground reporting about the growing confrontation between water, energy and climate interests that are pulling at the world's two largest economies.

The first report of Choke Point: China was posted Feb. 15 and  may be read at Ball State students created interactive maps and graphics for the project.

It is the second time that Ball State's nationally recognized multimedia journalism faculty and an interdisciplinary group of students have collaborated with Circle of Blue.

Last fall, students produced more than a dozen data visualization graphics to illustrate Choke Point: U.S., Circle of Blue's comprehensive report on the competition between rising energy demand and diminishing freshwater reserves in the United States.

"The 18 students, who were hand-picked for the program, are conducting original reporting and visualization design that will be seen by Circle of Blue's global audience, from workers in the field to members of the World Economic Forum," said Jennifer George-Palilonis, George and Frances Ball distinguished professor of multimedia at Ball State, who is directing the students. "This real-world collaboration puts students right in the middle of an important international news issue during one of the most dynamic, changing periods in the history of journalism."

George-Palilonis explained the students are illustrating Circle of Blue's weekly report with charts, maps and interactive graphics that help to illustrate China's frantic development.

"This is one of the decade's biggest news, policy and technology stories," said J. Carl Ganter, Circle of Blue's co-founder and managing director. "We found that over the last 15 years, China developed some of the world's best water conservation and efficiency tools and practices to avoid confrontation over water scarcity.

"We also found a host of new challenges is forcing China to consider a much different approach. Ball State's talented and motivated students will continue to help tell that story."

Ball State's partnership with Circle of Blue extends through the summer of 2011, when environmental nonprofit will host a number of Ball State students for internships. They will report on the considerable environmental risks and potential economic opportunities facing the Great Lakes states as a result of accelerating climate change.