Having worked with public-access video and then virtual worlds for more than 50 years, I have serious doubts regarding self-reporting by reporters of the efficacy of their VR-enhanced journalism. The superficiality of reportage so far “enhanced” by virtualizing media is apparent to anyone who has experienced the more thoughtful variety characterized by the written expression of concepts and situations not amenable to capture by camera, whether 3D or conventional.
Storytelling, my journalist wife insists, is not journalism; it’s creative authorship. Journalism deals with revealing realities that are often hidden beneath the surface of apparent “reality” — a reality often constructed by powerful interests to conceal things are they truly are and confuse populations who are in one way or another subordinate to power.
To the the extent that 360 reportage, like films and TV before it, gives surface appearances legitimacy, it actually obscures the prevailing reality, substituting a picture or immersive experience conceived by an author — not necessarily the reporter — for true knowledge of a situation, event, environment, or process. Absent effective criticism and application of canons of journalism, as well as personal ethics, storytelling will be used in the future as it has been in the past: to shape the popular conception of what is real.
Hegemons always find ways to put the prevailing forms of popular communications and the media that sustain them in service to their maintenance of power. Magic thinking about technology per se as a force for truth and justice prevents us from breaking through and inventing a more democratic forms of media that are about more than technology.