Nonny de la Peña is the Founder of Emblematic Group where she uses cutting-edge technologies to tell stories — both fictional and news-based — that create intense, empathic engagement. She recently joined Arizona State University as the founding director of the new Narrative and Emerging Media center located in downtown Los Angeles where she leads a best-in-class research and graduate program with a focus on new narratives developed using emerging media technologies including virtual, mixed and augmented reality, virtual production and spatial content in the areas of arts, culture and nonfiction. A Yale Poynter Media Fellow and a former correspondent for Newsweek, de la Peña is widely credited with pioneering the genre of immersive journalism. She is a WSJ Technology Innovator of the Year, one of CNET’s 20 Most Influential Latinos in Tech, a Wired Magazine #MakeTechHuman Agent of Change and Fast Company named her “One of the People Who Made the World More Creative.” Under her leadership, Emblematic has built a critically acclaimed body of work using a range of technologies from VR, AR, and XR to 360 video, AI and machine learning. Emblematic’s diverse roster of world class clients includes Cartier, Google, Lenovo, Italian fashion brand GCDS, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the World Economic Forum. Emblematic’s WebXR platform REACH.Love, a no-code toolset that creates scalable distribution in the medium, democratizes content authorship and empowers new voices to share their stories.
At ASU, de la Peña oversees a new master’s degree and a research, events and policy space focused on creative practice and critical understanding of immersive experience across XR with the goal of shifting and diversifying the demographics of those working in the technology landscape. As a journalist and filmmaker, de la Peña has more than 20 years of award-winning experience, writing for publications such as Time Magazine, New York and LA Times, and working in feature documentary and film production. Her paper in the MIT journal Presence, “Immersive Journalism: Immersive Virtual Reality for the First-Person Experience of the News,” is the second most downloaded article in the journal’s history, and her TED talk, which describes the use of cutting-edge technologies for putting viewers on scene at real news events, has garnered more than 1,300,000 views.