'Immersive journalism may go wrong in post-truth world'

London, June 30 (IANS) In a climate of fake news in the post-truth world, characterised by increased individualism and decreased objectivity, immersive journalism -- that puts the viewer at the heart of the action through techniques like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) -- has potential to pervert reality, a multimedia journalist from Spain has warned.
Immersion is a timely innovation and could either go very wrong or very right, said Dominguez, who is also the CEO at Minushu, a Barcelona-based start-up on storytelling with immersive technologies (AR & VR).
In an article published in Frontiers in Digital Humanities, Dominguez argues that immersive journalism needs to be carefully employed so as to not enable factually unfounded biases.
Leading media outlets in the world are now opening their own immersive journalism units.
After the New York Times, the Guardian and some other leading media organisations, CNN recently officially launched "CNNVR" -- a new immersive journalism unit and virtual reality platform.
"Immersive technology does not guarantee narrative immersion, and this is why we need more experiments which throw light on which of the elements of narrative construction in VR settings favour it," Dominguez said.
The key, she argues, is in the degree of immersion. Too much of it and the truth could get lost in imagination where you are happy to make your own reality because you can.
Images and motion seem to favour immersion, and can acquire realistic heights through techniques such as photogrammetry and videogrammetry.
Undergoing an immersive experience has great collective potential to meaningfully engage viewers in important news that are often disregarded as just another headline, so long as the viewer is able to keep a 'critical distance' with the medium.
But there is also the possibility, well known to gamers, for viewers to get consumed by the virtual context.
Immersive journalism has an ability to strengthen the vehicle through which users receive critical information, but it must be carefully employed so as to not fuel the current post-truth media crisis where personal feelings fuel ratings and shape reality.
So, according to Dominguez, immersive journalism, can reaffirm the principles of objectivity, or it can encourage further relativism.
All this will depend on what stories are told, how aptly immersive technology is used and how much of a degree of choice is allowed to immersed participants.
This is published unedited from the IANS feed..


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