As “fake news” becomes something we hear more about every day, it is more important than ever that news organizations and politicians walk the extra mile to ensure consumers of their legitimacy and integrity. To add this, print Journalism’s general decline has put the long-term viability of print media in question, requiring that traditional print companies extend themselves into the technologies and mediums of the future. Time Magazine and BCC’s recent forays into the world of 360 video are a few examples of the evolutionary drive that those who want to survive this period will have to possess. A scroll through BBC’s virtual reality home-page shows all kinds of interactive-journalism experiences, from a 360 space-walk experience from the perspective of an astronaut to a CGI reenactment of the Syrian refugee experience. Although the themes bare similarities to the kinds of news stories that could be told through print or 2D photography/video, 360 will enhance the realism of these stories, and directly invest their viewer’s perspectives(both physical and mental) in the news story at hand. No longer will the angular bias of 2D video make viewers doubt whether they are getting a fair and complete picture of the issue at hand. Instead, the viewer will be able to not only see what is in front of them but all around them.
The first episode of BBC’s “Damming the Nile” is a glimpse into VR’s potential in journalism. Available in VR mode, the short covers the construction of one of Africa’s biggest infrastructure improvement projects and the politics surrounding this development. Interviews with locals and stunning Ethiopian landscapes in 360, take you much closer to the source subject, than any written or 2D filmed account of this story ever possibly could. The second part of this series shows how a 360 news serial can capture the interests of news audiences for more than just one clip. Coverage of the construction’s effects extends to Egyptian opinion in this part, providing a complete view of opinions’ existent within both Nile countries.
The first episode of BBC’s “Daming the Nile” is avalible in VR mode and covers the building of one of Africa’s biggest construction projects and its surrounding political climate. Check out BBC’s VR homepage to see other VR news stories, like this one on the world’s fastest car, the Bloodhound supersonic car: