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Virtual Reality technology gives journalism industry a new direction

出自香港新聞網 - 樹仁新傳系學生實習習作

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Structure: 9 Content: 8.5 A well-written story. For readers who do not know anything about Project Syria, they would need a bit more background about that, e.g. which year it was produced; how many people have watched it so far, etc. That's what a journalist need to find out if the speaker did not mention that.

Reported by Wong Yan Ting, 5th March 2019

The application of Virtual Reality (VR) technology was no longer limited to entertainment, but helped journalists to create real-life reports, says an experienced VR expert.

“Reporters could use VR technology to bring audiences closer to the reality of a story,” said Chainly Sze, a founder and Chairman of Hong Kong Virtual Reality Network.

“For example, ‘Project Syria’ was an immersive journalism piece which made a huge impact,” Sze said at an assembly at Shue Yan University.

Sze said that ‘Project Syria’ used VR technologies and 360-degree video to immerse audiences in, and convey the plight of the child refugees in Syria and put the audience “on scene”.

The Syria Project showed a little girl was singing on a busy street corner in Syria when a rocket suddenly hit and dust and debris flew everywhere.

“The VR technology enabled people to feel as if they are truly witnesses to the violent events in Syria,” Sze said. “When the US retired soldiers watched this short video, they were moved and felt pity.”

However, some people were worried about VR technology would affect the persuasiveness and truthfulness of the news stories.

“Traditional news reports only consisted of just the written words and photographs, but how “truthful” these photographs actually were is questionable,” said Sze. “Also, they were difficult to attract audiences.”

Utilizing the VR technologies could take audiences to the real events as they transpire, and “Syria Project” was just one example of how VR technology was taking off a new direction, Sze said.

Although VR technology could be powerful for storytellers, since it forced the viewers to be engaged, Sze said VR technology must be used with caution.

“It plays powerfully upon audiences’ emotions so news reporters should use VR technology carefully to tell stories,” Sze said. “Be good, don’t be evil.”

--165136 2019年3月11日 (一) 02:14 (CST)

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