Augmented Reality in Journalism
Imagine opening your phone to check the usual headlines in the newspaper. You see photos of different incidents or ads but you want to dive deeper. You open a certain news app and point its camera towards the newspaper. Ta-da! The photos come to life right from your phone for your imagination to go wild on. Other applications would also include viewing the evidence and the depiction from multiple perspectives making sure you are not left with a one-sided story, letting the viewers pick their own perspective as compared to the 2D screens which showcase the same content repeatedly, letting them take the power in their hands. This is an example of working with the wonders of augmented and virtual reality, which literally is like an ‘out of the box’ experience.
They say augmented reality is the future.However, the future is now and observing the trends around the world, the building blocks to get there have already begun! In this age of such advanced technology it is not uncommon to own a smartphone, but more people need to be taught about all it’s benefits. Take the evolution of Twitter for instance, and how its purpose has changed over the years. It all started with people writing casual and funny one liners about their personal experiences. Today this platform is used as a powerful tool by both commoners and influential people to begin a dialogue, where the conversations are happening virtually. The next big thing- Augmented Reality takes the text information that we otherwise comprehend on our own and pushes the interaction to the next level.
Media and digital journalism go hand in hand to make sure that everyone stays connected and informed about issues that matter. The lack of transparency between the media and people opens a wide door of ambiguities (as the fancy ones say it). This is where augmented and virtual reality plays a role in helping journalists provide information more conveniently while letting viewers get a more closer insight to stories. Creating this seismic shift in interface evolution begins right from and for the people.
The incorporation of AR into news apps have already kick started with companies such as apple developing the AR Kit.This is likely to develop an engaging tech trend for the consumer interest. This is useful especially for the young generation who are hooked onto their devices, an example of which is the Print Play app powered by WOWSOME that uses the traditional print ads to deliver live digital content while also giving an awesome visual experience.
Providing AR coverage of certain inventions makes a news story a lot less abstract, giving viewers the freedom of visualization. Let’s take a particular news app for instance, the Quartz’s iPhone app now includes news stories in augmented reality which led to around 10,000 new downloads within the first week of its launch. One of their latest technology includes the AR coverage of the Cassini spacecraft.
However, the whole point of journalism is to deliver credible news to the masses and if they can’t do it quick then it loses its efficiency and credibility. Augmented reality creates a barrier here as creating and implementing 3D objects can take several days, making it unsuitable for breaking news. John Keefe, the product manager at Quartz said that in the app, “two thirds of the people who are presented with the possibility of seeing something in AR will open the AR viewer and see it”. With a little more work on the efficiency, the real consumer demand is to get ‘closer to the story’ through immersive media.
Now Snapchat is one of the most popular photo apps used mostly by the youngsters to stay in touch with friends and share their thoughts with the world. But would you ever think that this app could be used for augmented reality news? During India’s Climb against sexual abuse, Yusuf Omar, the mobile editor of the Hindustan Times filmed various interviews of underage rape survivors using the snapchat lenses. These filters augments different kinds of animals, allowing the viewers to see the expressions of the interviewees without exposing their identities. This makes the stories of these survivors a lot more relatable and helps with the overall event of removing the stigma around sexual harassment talks.
As much as people want to believe in this step taken towards a more technological dimension, there is still a lot of space for doubts and skepticism. With poverty not leaving this world anytime soon, specially developing nations like India, it naturally cuts down the access of augmented reality to only a few. Along with this, a large part of the population has recently begun getting used to reading information on text. This makes the technologically challenged people trust the medium more than AR. Many such ideas and inventions may excite people to invest their time into but is only a part of a slow long term plan. Augmented reality projects sure sound like a costly meal right now but would eventually become cheaper as it would become accesible to all. With transparency being the key between immersive media and news organizations, we can deliver news and information to the public that is fully legitimate.