Utilizing Immersive Journalism to Enhance Presentation of News

Utilizing Immersive Journalism to Enhance Presentation of News

Immersive Journalism is a popular virtual reality application that gives viewers a first-hand experience on situations and events, as presented in documentaries, and news broadcasts. This application utilizes three dimensional immersive and gaming technologies that generate a sense of presence, while giving viewers a chance to interact with the news report on a personal level.

However, many people still question how viewers can interact with the story on a personal level, without the ability to change the story. According to researchers from Universal Robots, being physically represented by a virtual character as you gaze in their direction can influence your sense of appearance within a virtual reality news scene.

Study Based on Virtual Reality Experience

The aforementioned study utilized virtual reality experience according to news reports from leading international broadcasting stations that captured refugees as they emigrated to the European Union.

The animated report dubbed ‘we wait’ enabled provided viewers with an immersive experience through virtual reality goggles on the sad predicament refugees experienced as they waited to illegally enter Europe on a boat along the high-risk sea.

Professor Mel Slater from the University of Barcelona who co-authored the study said that they wanted to give viewers a sense of presence as they watched the migration story. Further, they trigger viewers into searching more details regarding the plight of the refugees.

Together with his colleagues, Professor Slater evaluated the appearance of the surroundings and the compelling experience that participants had. They realized one out of four varying categories of the ‘we wait’ scene. Participants in one category were offered a virtual body which they could view on looking downwards.

In the event they gazed at virtual characters, they would gaze back. The remaining three categories lacked either one or both of the attributes mentioned above; participants neither received the virtual body nor were they recognized. There were notable results indicating the significance of virtual character recognition.

The easy trading of glances with the virtual characters instilled a sense of existence in the scene and made it more compelling to the participants according to the professor. Still, being incorporated in a virtual character enhanced both the appearance and practicality. The virtual robot software also triggered the participants to search for more information regarding the refugees mentioned herein. They were able to search for a website given in the study for more engagement way after the virtual reality experience.

It appeared as though the participants had arrived at an absolute conclusion about the story, with many of them yearning to establish what exactly was happening. Universal Robots experts opine that convincing audiences to access online content can be an arduous task.

According to research they recently conducted, many people are yet to embrace online content especially after viewing the same content on television. This is despite the technological advancements happening across the world.

While this was a minor study, the ‘we wait’ virtual reality experience reported a 25% conversion rate which the researchers are happy about. They are certain that virtual reality will have a huge impact in the near future.

The Body Verification

The above results show that slight changes could be significant in triggering more interest and further follow up in immersive news stories. Still, this can be achieved without jeopardizing the credibility of a story.

Professor Anthony Steed of University College of London recommends finding characters which acknowledge the activities of the audience without altering the story. Further, embodying the participants stimulates multi-senses hence reinforcing it. Here, participants watch their virtual bodies while they are touched and moving in synchronization with their own senses and movements.


Research collaborations in the virtual reality technology and robotic industry have resulted in major advancements. Experts understand the importance of both virtual reality and robot software regarding advancing knowledge that will be beneficial to the virtual reality industry as a whole. Universal Robots experts are certain that more advanced robot software will facilitate the control of robots through virtual reality.

Categories: Technology

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