Meet the Ancestories XR Team - Retha Hill
I’m Retha Hill, cofounder of AncestoriesXR. We call it AXR for short. I’ve been a journalist since I was 16, working for some of the biggest names in news and entertainment: The Detroit Free Press (my hometown newspaper); The Charlotte Observer, and The Washington Post. I was even a founding editor of Washingtonpost.com in 1995. In 1999, I was the founding content vice president who built BET.com. That was back in the stone age of the Internet.
When I left the Washington Post newsroom for our online service in 1995, so many of my coworkers thought I was crazy. And those were the enlightened ones. They were somewhat aware of this online thing. The others thought I was just leaving. They gave me a going-away party in the newsroom. With cake. They didn’t quite get that I was actually going to a space in an alcove right above the employee cafeteria. Those colleagues told me to stay in touch. But that was the situation back then. The vast amount of journalists couldn’t foresee that readers would want anything to do with online or that it would pose a threat to our storied tradition – at least not for decades to come. Over the years when I would see some of those colleagues at conferences, they would ask me: How did I know that online would be as big as it is. It seemed obvious to me that people would want to be able to get news and information whenever they wanted it; chat with our famed columnists; re-live the Watergate reporting that forced President Nixon to resign, and link out to any number of other places on the web.
But the biggest potential of online to me has always been the ability to tell and show interesting stories; to be able to take people back in time to understand their present. To let them explore history. To map our futures in a 3D environment. That’s why I’m so passionate about AncestoriesXR. We as individuals and as a nation have so many interesting stories that we want to share with our family, our friends, and other people. Like the pharaohs of Egypt, the cave people of southern France, and the Pueblo dwellers of the Chaco Canyon, people want to leave to future generations a record of their existence. While the genealogy search firms do an amazing job of getting to their members the records, and the biological proof of their origins, I’ve always thought the storytelling part was lacking.
That’s really how AncestoriesXR was born. We want to bring your family stories to life using immersive media. Games are amazing. They relax us. Rev us up. They also can help us see, feel, and explore the familial stories of each of us so they are not forgotten.
We are so glad to have you as part of our community on this journey.