Journalism and 360 Video
Featured image from New York Times VR.
Journalism is, at its core, a storytelling medium. It strives to inform an audience factually and without bias. It is based on a code of ethics stressing objectivity and transparency. David Smith writes, “[Journalists] try everyday to help viewers understand what’s happening in the world around them” (MediaShift).
360 video is a storytelling medium as well, which is why journalists have adopted it as their new tool. 360 video introduces transparency into storytelling and bolsters empathy. 360 videos are able to form a deep connection with viewers, a connection that journalists can form.
How Is 360 Video Being Used In Journalism?
The New York Times (NYT) utilized 360 video in a big way. NYT distributed one million Google Cardboard VR sets to their subscribers. In addition, they launched an app that streamed several 360 videos. The videos provided content like the Rio Olympics, Pluto’s surface, and tranquil nature sequences.
The Times’ videos are engrossing and gripping. There is no doubt that they captivate audiences. The use of 360 video tells stories in a way that immerses viewers into the subject’s world.
Issues With 360 Video In Journalism
360 video in journalism has been criticized for having potential ethical issues. Some believe that the use of it includes creating a “staged experience.” This idea brings up concerns over whether the full range view of 360 video is staged unnaturally. Unnatural staging could result in a change in the authenticity of the story.
By staging a 360 experience, is the maker distorting the reality?
On the other hand, 360 video is expensive. This can make a creator worry about how much revenue they will make. Do the benefits outweigh the cost?
Examples of 360 Video In Journalism
Jovrnalism is a great example of 360 video journalism. “This USC Annenberg course, led by Prof. Robert Hernandez, focuses on virtual reality and journalism. Students from across the university collaborated in the hackathon style course to produce diverse experiences,” the home page explains. So far, the program has created several virtual reality and 360 videos, including a 360 video project on a Roller Derby team.
One of the programs most impressive projects includes the video titled “Hell and High Water,” in which the students investigate the effect a hurricane could have on Houston, Texas.
Where Is 360 Video In Journalism Headed?
360 video in journalism is only expected to become more prevalent in the field. As 360 video grows as a technology, journalism’s use of it is likely to follow.
Katie Murray is a Marketing Intern for Green Buzz Agency. She reports on the latest trends in Video Production and Video Marketing. She loves the NYT 360 videos.