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ABC-7 honored with national Edward R. Murrow award for innovation

EL PASO, Texas - ABC-7 is proud to announce it has won a national Edward R. Murrow award for Excellence in Innovation in the small market category. The award, presented by the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA), is one of the most prestigious in the broadcast industry.

The winning entry, titled One Crazy Year, is a groundbreaking interactive experience created by Eric Bowers, KVIA's art director. One Crazy Year is a first-of-its-kind virtual reality museum documenting the events and headlines of 2020.

(Eric Bowers, ABC-7 art director, talks about creating One Crazy Year)

"This was one of the best projects I've ever worked on," said Bowers. "It was rewarding enough to just get it out there, but to receive national recognition like this is just completely amazing."

The virtual museum features several galleries dedicated to local headlines, national headlines, the first anniversary of the August 3rd shooting, severe weather, and of course, the Covid-19 pandemic. Using 360-degree cameras, Bowers was able to create a new virtual space where users can explore the top headlines of 2020 while guided by ABC-7 anchors as docents. The experience is available to anyone with a smartphone, a tablet, a computer. VR Goggles make the experience even more immersive.

(ABC-7 anchor Stephanie Valle demonstrates how One Crazy Year was designed)

"Last year, 2020, was a year where so many people were in their homes for so long, like me, they got tired of seeing their own walls. I felt like it was a perfect time to give people some other walls to explore," he said. "This is not just a unique way to revisit the news, but a timely way to do so as well. All the technology to do this efficiently was out there, it was just a matter of putting it all together in a fresh new way."

Eric Bowers, ABC-7's Art Director, is the mastermind behind the project. He developed the concept, created the virtual museum from a 3D model and envisioned all details: from the paint on the walls to the texture on the floors, to the Franklin mountains on a sunny day outside and the plants and benches inside. The exhibits feature content curated from ABC-7 newscasts, including some of the most impacful stories of the year.

Bowers said it also led to new collaborations.

"I'm very thankful for the assistance of David Figueroa, from Augment El Paso. If he wasn't implementing the programming as I was designing, we would have never made the deadline," said Bowers.

This is the first national Murrow award for ABC-7. The station has been recognized before with regional Murrow awards for its continuing coverage of the Walmart mass shooting and Storm 2006.

The awards recognize excellence in news stories that uphold the RTDNA Code of Ethics, show technical expertise and underscore the impact of journalism as a service to the community.

Article Topic Follows: El Paso
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Brenda De Anda-Swann

Brenda De Anda-Swann is news director at ABC-7.

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