Preview: VR in Journalism: The Next Wave

Photo Credit: Francesca Panetta

Virtual reality and its use in journalism have been on the map for the past few years. As more news organizations begin producing 360 and VR content, journalists are left to wonder if VR is the next big thing or just a passing fad.  

A panel of pioneering VR journalists will discuss the future of this new medium in VR in Journalism: The Next Wave.

The panel will reflect on recent experimentation in VR journalism and look towards how the medium will move forward, according to panelist Francesca Panetta, executive editor of VR at The Guardian.

“There have been plenty of panels about how VR can be useful to journalism,” Panetta said. “I feel we’ve had a stint of time experimenting and it’s time to bring together our collective experiences and come to some conclusions. There is also a lot of talk about whether [augmented reality] now should be the focus for newsrooms rather than VR. I’d like to ask the panel’s feelings about this.”

Discussion will touch on both the technical and logistic aspects of VR and AR journalism, such as when this new medium is appropriate for telling a story and how news organizations can monetize this contentment. Panetta said interest in VR has grown recently, and it’s time to take a critical look at how the medium operates in news and journalism.

“The last couple of years saw a flurry of interest for media companies in VR,” Panetta said. “As the calm passes after the storm, this panel will ask what has been working and what hasn’t been in the world of nonfiction virtual reality. From breaking news in 360, to long-form documentaries, we’ll summarize the main creative learnings. On top of that we’ll talk about logistics: how can we fund these pieces going forwards and get our content to people.”

This will be Panetta’s second time attending SXSW and her first time at the conference as a panelist. She feels SXSW sets itself apart from other film and news conferences.

“I attend a lot of news and film conferences and festivals,” Panetta said. “This felt quite different…meeting a wider range of people than I usually do at film and news conferences. I want to see innovative and creative approaches to emerging tech. I want to make new connections.”

She said she hopes the audience will hear a useful and clear conversation that hasn’t been had before.

Other panelists include Marcelle Hopkins of the New York Times, Arnaud Colinart of ATLAS V and RYOT’s Jessica Lauretti. The session will be moderated by USC’s Robert Hernandez.

Thursday, March 15
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
JW Marriot – Salon 1-2

Find out more: VR in Journalism: The Next Wave

Featured image: Pixabay

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