Journalism hasn’t changed much throughout the years — all until VR (Virtual Reality) stepped into the game. In traditional journalism, an event happens you pick up your notebook, slam the doors down in your media van and rush to the place of the scene. You talk to witnesses, conduct a few interviews and check the surroundings. The cameraman follows you in every way as a second pair of eyes and ears. This has been done the same way for decades.
With the arrival of 360˚ videos and Cinematic VR you are able to bring the stories much closer to your audience. With a spherical/360 camera you will capture the video of the real world footage.
Journalists across the world are now embracing virtual reality as a new way to engage audiences and encourage emotional connections between viewers and the people in their stories. Journalism is changing.
Journalism is there to inform and ultimately changes the way the world is perceived. Since the medium such as VR can enhance the engagement and empathy far more than a newspaper article or traditional footage.
Which News Companies have embraced VR? The most known one is New York Times. With their own app NYTVR and their awesome promo stunt, where they distributed over 1-million Google cardboards, NYT is delivering 360 news to their readers through their phones. “The Displaced” gave viewers a close look tot he lives of three children who represented more then 30 million refugee children across the world. With such a low-priced viewing tool such as Google Cardboard and a powerful storytelling medium, this type of journalism is made to reach larger market.
New York Times aren’t the only one making good content. RYOT (a Los Angeles-based production company) has been acquired by Huffington Post is serving their master in the similar way. They have their own app through which viewers can consume 360 content. RYOT also helped the Associated Press last year. The Guardian’s first VR project, 6×9 put the viewers into solitary confinement and BBC made viewers witness the 1916 uprising in the streets of Dublin. Then there is also the Economist and Washington Post.
Actually, New York Times is betting on VR Journalism to take off. Sam Dolnick, the editor of New York Times said:
“The Times is always trying to innovate and discover new ways of telling stories and uncovering the World.” — Sam Dolnick
Why should you leverage VR?
The Journalistic goal is to bring a reader/viewer into a space and tell a great story. VR has the ability to take the reader into the location itself, witness an event and see the place through their own eyes. As a storyteller you do have to be careful and you should always ask yourself — “how will this affect the viewer”.
Only certain type of stories can be said with VR
It seems like every newsroom, sports video centres, marketing agency is trying to bring in and sell VR. While VR can be applied into numerous ways, it won’t replace TV, print or radio. In fact, VR can show you an immersive world and bring you closer to the location, but it won’t give you enough context if you’re not familiar with the story background.
The story is still going to be covered in print, where the editors are going to use the best writers to deliver the information and prepare the viewer for the next scene.
How to get into VR Journalism?
Jenna Pirog suggests to pick up one of the lower price cameras such as Ricoh Theta S or Gear360 and just start experimenting.
You will find tons of tips, tricks and suggestions which are a good read, but I would advise you to just experiment and allow yourself to make mistakes.
Keep creating great content, the better the content is the better we all are. As a journalist who wants to get into a VR and 360˚ production, you’re an early adopter. Make mistakes and learn from them. Then create something amazing.
“Journalism is a magic carpet that can take you to places you have never been and to experiences that many other people can never have. Enjoy the ride.” — Caryl Rivers
© VIAR Inc. 2016
We are developing a cloud-based content management system for virtual reality that will empower publishers, educators, brands, and marketers. We also make and sell custom branded virtual reality goggles.
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