Disrupting the narrative: immersive journalism in virtual reality
This paper conceptualises immersive journalism, and discusses the implications of the technology for users who then get a first-hand experience of being at a news event through wearing a virtual reality headset. The paper surveys current approaches to 360-degree immersive journalism films that were produced by early adopters in 2015, identifying the contrasting narrative forms and style of the stories. Focus group studies add new, significant understanding to the types of narratives that work and the impact that immersive storytelling has. The focus group is a study of 18–24 year olds in the UK who are being targeted by this new technology as a way for news broadcasters to reach a new audience. This first study into immersive journalism content produces a new understanding of the impact of the narratives. It identifies the value for news producers adopting this technology, whilst raising concerns over the production of filming 360 degrees. A framework is offered for further research studies into immersive technologies and storytelling in the field of news.