The 2015 World Editors Forum report entitled ‘Trends in the Newsroom’ details nine trends which are present in modern day newsrooms. The trends mentioned are reflective of the new ways newsrooms are incorporating convergent media practices in their journalistic processes. The ninth trend, ‘Innovation In Small Newsrooms Inspiration From Around The World’ discusses the need for innovation in the newsroom. The reason for a need of innovation is due to the rising economic pressures, advents of new technologies and an increase in competitors( Veseling 2015 , pp. 100). As Brian Veseling discusses in the report “mobile, video and audio storytelling are becoming the norm”(Veseling 2015 , pp. 100). Innovation in these mediums is what the ninth trend is concerned with. Two examples of innovation include virtual reality and user-generated content.
Virtual reality refers to an “immersive media experience that replicates either a real or imagined environment and allows users to interact with this world in ways that feel as if they are there”(Owen 2015 , pp. 2). This concept goes hand in hand with the idea of immersive journalism, which looks to engage directly with the viewer and show them what is occurring, as opposed to telling them(D’Anastasio 2013 , pp. 1). One proponent of this new style of journalism is American journalist Nonny de la Peña. De la Peña is the CEO of the organization Emblematic Group, which aims to fuse traditional journalistic practices with virtual reality technology to immerse the audience within the story. One example includes Project Syria, which is a virtual reality piece produced by Emblematic Group in 2014. The virtual story allows for a “full-body experience that places viewers at the scene of a bombing, then allows them to explore a refugee camp”(Garling 2015). Furthermore, the streets of Syria was constructed using actual smartphone footage recorded by Emblematic Group journalists. Project Syria can be viewed through the use of Oculus Rift goggles or can be viewed via a mobile phone. This project is a clear example of how the innovative medium of virtual reality can be used to enhance storytelling.
User-generated content refers to the media incorporating content produced by the audience into their media platforms. Huffington Post journalist Azeem Khan states “the news uses UGC to its full advantages, from photos plastered on front pages of local newspapers to videos being replayed on every channel”(Khan 2013). It is imperative to note that the increase of user-generated content is due to the availability of smartphones and the ability to capture raw images and audio. One example of how the media uses user-generated content is Times magazine coverage of Hurricane Sandy. Once the disaster struck, Times hired iPhoneographers to photograph the wreckage for its Instagram page. The ability to survey and select user-generated content is a core skill for modern day journalists(Johnston 2015 , pp. 908). User-generated content can be very effective in modern day storytelling as it can supply journalists with the point of view footage from events being covered. This can further allow viewers to be placed in the middle of a new story.
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Veseling, B, 2015. Trends in Newsrooms. The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, v1 p1, 99-102.