In the first of our weekly news round-ups, we take a look at the increasing demand for data journalism and the storytelling potential of virtual reality.
Tech in the newsroom
The first-ever global survey “The State of Technology in Global Newsrooms” by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) has found that data journalism is the most sought-after training.
According to the survey, 52% of journalists worldwide want training in data journalism and 33% of newsrooms use data visualisations and infographics.
However, while clearly in-demand, the survey also found that there is still a big technology gap in newsrooms. Newsrooms aren’t redefining traditional roles for a digital era, and they aren’t making the most of available technologies. For example, in the battle against fake news, 71% of journalists getsource their stories offfrom social media but a mere 11% use social verification tools.
The survey proves that our training on the Interactive Journalism course is ever more in demand, and required to help bring newsrooms across the world up to speed on putting engaging stories on the web. You can read the survey results in full here.
Augmented reality visualisations
Augmented reality visualisations have become a staple of election night coverage. Jeremy Vine pulls graphs and maps out of thin air as the votes roll in. It’s an engaging way of presenting data for broadcast – making it easy for the viewer to make sense of the numbers.
We flagged up a particularly good example of this on CNN, where a 3D map taken from Google street view helps explain the timeline and locations of the recent Las Vegas shooting. The combination of mapping and 3D visuals help to explain just how the shooter was able to carry out such a horrific and deadly attack.
On Saturday 7th October, The Guardian gave away 87,000 Google Cardboard headsets, so viewers could experience their new VR stories using just their smartphones.
Google Cardboard turns viewer’s ordinary smartphones into VR headsets. The Guardian’s VR stories have so far been in-depth experiential pieces, including a look at life in solitary confinement and how someone with autism experiences a party.
Chris Milk, CEO of virtual reality company Within, has described VR as the “ultimate empathy machine” and this suggests it could become a powerful and engaging tool for telling emotive stories, as well as something fun for viewers. But it requires a commitment of time and attention – things that are in short supply in a digital era. Only time will tell whether VR proves useful in news.