Virtual Reality Journalism
The first and most obvious idea that creators have while think of a VR piece is that of a spooky horror or thriller. But the real strength of VR lies not in trapping you in the creator’s world, but immersing you in an experience you wouldn’t otherwise have had. A creator can choose to take you around the world to spaces, events and people that affect your world, even though you have no direct access to them.
Virtual reality journalism shows you the world like never before. It creates a sense of empathy and urgency that is otherwise lost in print or regular video. By wrapping the world around you, storytellers have been using VR journalism to narrate gripping and engaging stories that are very difficult to tell. Virtual reality journalism is being adopted by news studios worldwide in a bid to create time capsules of current events which are of high cultural importance. This kind of immersive journalism wouldn’t have been possible if virtual reality and journalism didn’t share a common singular motive – making the world more intimate, empathetic and aware.
Immersive journalism is defined as a style of journalism which allows viewers to experience the events and situations reported in documentary films and news mediums first-hand, using immersion and 3D technologies to directly engage audiences with the unfolding event.
The journalist Nonny de la Peña is recognized as one of the pioneers of immersive journalism. She describes her mission as telling real, harsh stories using just VR glasses, in order to create deeper empathy in her viewers. If they are able to experience overhead gunfire and surrounding chaos in a Syrian landscape first-hand, they’ll realize the scope and reality of these tragedies, making it more than just a recurring headline.
Virtual reality makes these experiences deeply personal and experiential, allowing people to consume news outside of the existing forms of saturated media, be it print or television or broadcast news outlets.
Another closely related tool and technology is augmented reality, brought to public attention by the massively popular mobile game ‘Pokemon Go’. However, beyond video games and entertainment, the technology also has a wide scope in augmented reality journalism.
There exists great potential for augmented reality to be used in the coverage of live events such as sports and conferences. Field sports like football, basketball and cricket can have overhead statistics displayed for players or tactical overviews on the field using augmented reality. Political events and conferences are also ripe for the technology – imagine if important statistics, contextual information, and roles and responsibilities of leaders and delegates could be displayed on screen during the news coverage. These are just a few ways in which augmented reality is manifesting itself and with the technology being in its nascent stage, far greater and broader applications are on the way.