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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Virtual Reality Makes Journalism Immersive, Realism Makes It Credible

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VR cardboard viewer

The virtual reality cardboard viewer utilizes a mobile phone application to display stories.

Credit: Patrick Mansell

Researchers at Pennsylania State University (PSU) have found virtual reality (VR) can help journalists pull readers into their stories, but if they are too flashy it could damage their credibility.  

As part of the study, participants indicated that stories experienced in VR significantly outperformed text-based articles in several categories, including giving them a sense of presence, says PSU professor S. Shyam Sundar. The participants also say using a cardboard VR viewer for experiencing 360-degree videos was better than viewing the same on a traditional computer screen.

However, the researchers also found that evoking a higher sense of "being there" was associated with lower trustworthiness ratings of The New York Times among the participants.  The researchers say the immersive quality of VR and 360-degree video may make the content more shareable, and they also note this technology demands more attention, which can hamper readers' ability to remember story details.

From Pennsylania State University
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Abstracts Copyright © 2017 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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