25 May 2017

Émilie Kodjo

Embracing immersive technologies is key to the future of news

Implementing new technologies into newsrooms is a notoriously difficult feat, as publications often shy away from taking risks with technologies that might not stick around for long. We asked a few questions to VR expert Robert Hernandez about the state of affairs for Virtual Reality and other new technologies trying to break into newsrooms.

Robert Hernandez will speak on the panel ‘VR is here to stay. What’s next for journalism?’ at the GEN Summit 2017 in Vienna, 21–23 June.

About VR and new video formats for storytelling, how have these new technologies been faring lately? Are they making their way into newsrooms?

I would expand it to immersive journalism instead of strictly VR, it is a more encompassing term. Because there is 360 video, which technically isn’t VR, there is VR journalism which is true VR: at room-scale, interactive, you leave this reality. And there are 2 other things on people’s radars: MR, mixed reality, which is often confused with AR, augmented reality. But for a more encompassing term, we’ll use immersive journalism for immersive realities.

It is a fast moving technology, that is evolving at an incredible rate. A few of weeks ago, I was at the NAB show (National association of broadcasters) in Las Vegas, where 2 new immersive cameras were released: Facebook announced their prototype cameras called the x6 and x24. There is a lot of movement in this space and it’s evolving quickly. Lots of newsrooms have started to expand, explore and hire content creative in this space, although most of them are in 360 video, there are some that have put together Augmented Reality teams. It is clear that immersive technologies are more than a fad. A lot is happening there.