VR technology makes it possible for people to experience things that are hard to access in an immersive way. This is the basic function of VR technology, which is also in line with the target of journalism – to be objective and authentic.
Last month, Sina News, one of China’s largest news portals, launched its VR video channel, aiming to build a VR content platform. There are now about 40 VR videos altogether on its channel. It has also announced partnerships with universities including Beijing Normal University and the Communications University of China to set up VR labs and bring VR courses to students majoring in communication studies.
According to Sina, the reason for offering VR-related courses is that VR content production is confined to a certain group of professionals because of requirements for devices and techniques. Thus, they want to train communications students to become VR production professionals.
Back in March, Sina produced VR reports on China’s annual parliamentary meetings, the “two sessions”.
Another news portal, NetEase, has also produced three VR video projects. Liu Jing, the deputy editor-in-chief of NetEase News, said at the Global Mobile Internet Conference last month that, unlike the traditional third-person perspective in news reports, in VR videos, it is possible to report news in the first-person, and that’s a breakthrough that VR technology can bring to journalism.
But he mentioned that VR news videos or documentaries are no more than panoramic videos. So how to push VR reports beyond panoramic videos will be a problem for journalists to solve.
Besides these two news portals, media site Caixin has also been experimenting with VR as a new medium for journalism, beginning with the first VR documentary in China, the Kindergarten in Mountain Village.
(Top photo from News.qq.com)