Editorial opportunities and pitfalls of Virtual Reality in Journalism

Example of equipment used for Virtual Reality, on a young boy.

Nowadays, the digital world is evolving really fast, lots of new things are created. Therefore, you can easily take advantage of it if you know how to do so. For instance, as journalism did with the last remarkable innovation of these past years, Virtual Reality. 

Virtual Reality is a new technology used in journalism to share stories in a new way. The Knight Foundation showed the “11 ideas win Journalism 360 Challenge on Immersive Storytelling“.

Analysing the “Data verses: Information Visualization into VR Storytelling” project by The Outliers Collective, we can see that there are lots of editorial opportunities but also pitfalls in these kinds of new projects.

This particular one is costing $25,000, it is a project lead by Oscar Marin Miro in Barcelona, Spain. The aim of this innovation is to “make it easier to integrate data visualizations into immersive storytelling through a platform that would allow the integration of virtual reality videos and photos with facts. For example, a user could show a map of the Earth highlighting places without water access and linking each area to a virtual reality video that explores the experience of living there“.

First of all, the opportunities are that you can innovate a lot by adapting the content of your story. For example by integrating virtual videos and photos, but also illustrations which makes people want to look at it because it will entertain them and they usually find it funny to use. 

But there are obviously some pitfalls too. For example, some people prefer to keep using the regular way of reading stories because they find the use of VR too complicated for them, and they can not adapt to it. Then you can think that this is not convenient, because you have to you special equipment that in addition to being quite cumbersome, is also a bit expensive, therefore not everybody can afford it. Due to that, it is used only by a minority so it makes it hard to develop it.