Based on three years of experience collaborating on immersive journalism projects, FRONTLINE and Emblematic Group have published their best practices for virtual reality journalism.
The report is an in-depth guide to all aspects of VR journalism, including:
- State of the Technology
- Opportunities and Challenges
- Guiding Principles
From the Introduction:
For the last three years, journalists, producers, designers and engineers from FRONTLINE and Emblematic Group have worked together to produce two VR experiences that each deploy the power of fully immersive, room-scale VR in the service of deeply reported narrative journalism. As part of the initiative, The Media Impact Project, a research organization at USC’s Annenberg Norman Lear Center which studies the impact of media on society, conducted testing exploring how the new technology being used by FRONTLINE and Emblematic engages and informs audiences.
What follows are the lessons gleaned throughout this collaborative effort, shared to foster future opportunities for meaningful immersive journalism, and to help establish standards to guide other journalists and media organizations participating in this developing field.
The complete report can be found here.
In a press release on August 8, 2018, the New York Times announced that its immersive journalism content will be available for the “Magic Leap One Creator Edition” mixed reality headset:
The Times’s first offering for “Magic Leap One Creator Edition” is a mixed reality (MR) version of its immersive report inviting readers to explore the damage caused by the Fuego volcano eruption in the Guatemalan village of San Miguel Los Lotes. Through MR and accessible via Helio, Magic Leap’s web browser for 3D and spatial web experiences, The Times is able to transport a life-sized piece of the scene to readers, conveying the scale of this natural disaster in a visceral way, and allowing users to examine it as if they were there.
The New York Times continues to explore the latest technology in immersive media. In previous projects, they established themselves as early adopters of virtual reality, 360-degree video, and augmented reality. Most notably in November 2015, the Times distributed over a million cardboard VR headsets to home subscribers in conjunction with the launch of their 360-video “NYT VR” app.
Journalism offers unlimited opportunities to benefit from the features of immersive technology. As more VR, AR, and MR devices become available and affordable, the content produced by news organizations like the New York Times will continue to reach increasing numbers of consumers. However, producing content that’s compelling and accessible is only part of the equation. It’s critical to raise awareness and promote immersive media to the public at large, to ensure that talented journalists and technologists (like those at the Times) can continue to create these amazing experiences.
Roy Kachur is a Media Technologist, IT Architect, and VR Evangelist. He has worked in the information technology field since the 1990’s, and in the media industry since 2014. He believes that VR will play a significant role in the future of media.