November 09, 2022

Immersive Journalism: The future of the industry?

We are in a moment of cultural convergence, where the massive introduction of mobile devices has created a constantly connected society.

This has also driven cyberjournalism and other digital storytelling proposals. Interactivity is one of the most exciting features of the media industry, and the applications of immersive technologies will mark its future. How can publications and journalists reconnect with the lost audience? We’ll tell you about it!

What is immersive journalism?

Immersive journalism can be defined as a subcategory of journalism that employs extended reality technologies intending to introduce viewers to the story. This allows the audience to better understand the magnitude of the information and become more immersed in the environment in the story.

Immersive media, available in various forms, allows people to interact with the content they receive on another level.

Benefits of Extended Reality in Media

The benefits that immersive technologies bring to journalism are numerous, and we have summarized the most important ones as follows:

  • The audience is no longer a mere spectator and can experience the story first-hand.
  • Virtual reality makes information more retentive, making stories more impactful and memorable.
  • It empowers journalists to solve problems, be more creative, innovate, and work closely with the audience.
  • It gives a greater sense of veracity and transparency.
  • It is not an adversary to traditional journalism but complements and enhances it with new capabilities.
  • It gives greater freedom when it comes to consuming the material from the device of the viewer’s choice.
  • It opens up new market niches and business possibilities.
  • It can be accessed in an easy and straightforward way.
  • It gives a new value to the news.

Immersive Journalism | Examples

In an era where social media outpaces print newspapers, the role of technology is very important in minimizing the gap between storytelling and traditional media.

We found numerous examples of work where journalists have reinvented storytelling through virtual reality:

  • “Hunger in Los Angeles”: created by Nonny de la Peña in 2012 and presented at the Sundance Film Festival, is the first example of journalistic storytelling using virtual reality. With a simple set of glasses, a pair of headphones, and a cell phone, it recreated a real scene from a food bank in a U.S. city.

  • “Traveling While Black”: inspired by “The Negro Motorist Green Book” is a documentary that tells the story of these trips and the obstacles faced by the black community throughout the twentieth century. The immersion in their stories through virtual reality is such that, by placing you in their shoes, it conveys the emotions and exclusion experienced first-hand by the black road-trippers.
  • “Ghost Fleet VR”: is also a social documentary. It addresses the lucrative business of human trafficking in Thailand’s fishing industry. It is filmed with a 360º camera and follows Tun Lin, a survivor of this scheme who recounts the horrors of this situation by taking viewers around the boats transporting the slaves.
  • “This is Climate Change: Famine”: is the first part of a series that aims to explore the consequences of climate change on individual communities. It manages to bring viewers inside the harshest effects by putting them at the center of the suffering of those most affected in the real world.
  • “Zero Days VR”: a little different from the rest, this documentary tells the story of Stuxnet, a computer virus supposedly created in the United States and Israel. It is an animated experience that recreates a journey through malware and political issues, which makes it an exciting investigation.
  • National Geographic VR: famous for its striking images, has wanted to give a twist to its way of telling and transmitting stories. They have created a platform where the public can kayak in Antarctica with penguins and explore Machu Pichu and other parts of the world through a unique travel experience.

The future of news with Virtual Reality

As we said above, the journalism sector is going through a difficult time when it comes to recovering its audience and gaining new followers who now consume more information through social networks than through traditional media.

Far from being a problem, the shift towards digital storytelling is a great opportunity for journalism to reinvent itself, reconnect with the lost audience, and interact with them in a much closer way.

Immersive technology has the ability to reshape storytelling and research. It puts people at the center of the subjects being told, but in a more impactful and memorable way than the traditional one. This is why immersive journalism is expected to be the industry’s future; it is already reflected in media giants such as the New York Times and The Guardian, which use extended reality and 360° video to create stronger bonds with their audience.

TV channels also join this trend, such as The Weather Channel, which uses mixed reality to help communicate forecasts of storms, fires, tornadoes, floods, etc. They expect to incorporate this technology into 80% of their programming and thus completely change the way weather forecasts are presented.

During a significant and steady decline in print sales, these technologies help keep titles fresh, attract new audiences and strengthen relationships with their most loyal audiences

Application of virtual reality in journalism

will be able to create new stories, connect with your audience and provide a service never seen before.

If you want to find out how don’t hesitate to contact us; we’ll help you create the most impactful storytelling.

Elena Canorea
Copywriter & Content Specialist

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