How virtual reality could be the future of journalism
Nonny de la Peña believes virtual reality will soon become a regular part of journalistic storytelling.
“It is a natural extension for a generation growing up with gaming,” she says to the New York Times.
Nonny de la Peña does however think here are risks involved in the use of virtual reality in journalistic storytelling, as the medium allows for propaganda and mistruth.
Ms. de la Peña used to be a correspondent for Newsweek. She’s also written for the Los Angeles Times and made documentary films. But it was when she discovered virtual reality that she realized how to make journalism truly immersive, the way she had desired it to be.
The visceral nature of the immersive journalism experience is said to make the viewer a new kind of witness. Mr. de la Peña’s first project “Hunger in Los Angeles” became a big success at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Since then she has been entirely focused on virtual reality.
“You really engage on scene in a way that gives you this incredible connection to where you are. And that’s why, early on, I was calling it an empathy generator, an empathy machine,” she says.
The problem with virtual reality is that it’s expensive. Creating journalistic stories using the technology is a costly affair at the moment. There are also journalistic issues in relation to it, Ms. de la Peña admits
“As much as or more than anything, this medium allows for propaganda and mistruth,” she says.
The bottom line though is that experts see a lot of potential in virtual reality, even if the technology would need to become both cheaper and better in order to have a lasting impact on journalism.
“What does transparency look like when you have goggles on? I don’t know the answer, but it is something I think about a lot,” says Nonny de la Peña.New York TimesNonny de la PeñaVirtual reality