Virtual Reality Enters Reality – Digital Media World, Vienna – WAN IFRA

10- 12 October 2016

Recent technological advancements have led to exciting new ways of telling stories. Sensors, such as 3D scanners, eye and hand tracking devices and GPS on mobile phones, enable us to capture information in real time. Displays, such as immersive 3D goggles, augmented reality glasses, and light field projectors, make it possible to merge virtual and real world media. The Internet empowers users to collaborate, interact and modify the storyline. However, the burning question is still if VR Journalism is possible for the average newsroom? The answer lies in understanding the production tools and integration in workflow and content management systems in a seamless way. Experts from the academic, industry and tech field gathered at the Digital Media World in Vienna in October to discuss and exchange point of views on opportunities of these news technologies.

This session was organized by the WAN-IFRA’s Global Alliance for Media Innovation led by Andrew Perkis, Professor at Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  Professor Perkis discussed why this is a good time to get into Immersive/VR Journalism, covering the areas like: what does it take to start? How are the communities reacting? Who are they? While providing a through history of VR to present day, Clayton Doherty, President and Co-Founder of the World VR Forum reported the success of the WVRF inugural summit in Crans-Montana, Switzerland last May and talked about the VR/Journalism collaboration that WAN-INFRA will be bringing to Switzerland next May. Duncan Hooper, Editor in chief, digital platforms at EURONEWS – France was certainly the speaker with the most hands-on experience when it comes to producing and achieving a quality VR news story.

Hosted by WAN-IFRA, the World VR Forum provided a selection of VR Journalistic experiences produced by the NYT, BBC, Die Welt, CNN and the Economist for some of the 6,000 conference participants to experience VR Journalism for the first time. WVRF took an active role discussing the technology with media representatives, tech companies and solution providers and is assured that immersive VR journalism will be one of the most profound ways of telling stories in the future. Marketing Specialist and digital concept developer, Thomas Wittenburg at Visiolink states, “Many newsrooms have already experimented with VR. As the technology becomes more mature and available, many more will undoubtedly join the action. When the technology becomes able to broadcast live, VR could be served as premium content by the media”.