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Tuesday, July 23, 2019
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Adler promotes Megabots, gets viral coverage

Shannan AdlerShannan Adler, part-time faculty in the Journalism Department, is thrilled over the recent worldwide publicity of Somerville-based Megabots.

This week a Japanese robot company, Suidobashi Heavy Industry, accepted Megabots’ challenge to a duel between the companies’ gigantic, human-piloted robots, which are being called the largest in the world.

The story swept social media in recent days.

Adler, an investor in Megabots, is a former CNN producer who conducted much of the media outreach that led to the trending story.

“This week has been absolutely wild,” Adler said on July 10. “We’re already fielding offers from Hollywood for television shows.”

There is speculation that the first robot duel could pave the way for a robot-fighting sports league. A date for the Megabots-Suidobashi duel has not been set.

Adler taught an interactive news class last semester, in which students created podcasts, vodcasts, blogs, and other forms of multimedia journalism. Adler assigned students to create crowdsourced fundraising campaigns to aid with their projects at the same time she was raising money for Megabots through Kickstarter.

“I sent out our Kickstarter campaign to my students and asked them to critique it,” she said. “Because of that, a lot of them followed the Megabots project and got really enthusiastic about it.”

Adler said in a constantly changing media climate, it’s important for students to understand how to fundraise for independent journalism projects.

“I really wanted them to get more comfortable with it,” she said. “I also wanted them to see that Megabots started with very little. The video that we used to launch the duel cost something like $100 to make.”