Journalism is just now seeing its first major radical shift since the invention of the paper press. Stories and articles can now be reformatted with ease, using straightforward and user-friendly augmented reality (AR) apps. These AR apps are being used with some of the most prominent publications on earth, and are imperative to learning about AR’s infancy in the world of journalism. The nature of reporting and the shifts it experiences using AR can offer more clairvoyance in the future of storytelling.
New York Times trendsetting
The New York Times has begun to incorporate augmented reality technologies into their top stories and have added this functionality to its existing news application for smartphones. This application allows users to project 3D images onto their environment within the context of a particular story that would benefit from a more visceral experience. Stories such as a NASA mission to Mars can utilize this technology fully by projecting the image of the planet and rotating it in accordance to match what the article is referring to.
From the location of the Curiosity Rover to the Insight program where an expansive space station analyzes the red planet's surface for seismic activity, the visualization and in-depth storytelling conveyed in the New York Times' new app garners more traction and intrigue in consuming news. Compare and contrast this with how we used to read the news a decade ago, and it is a big leap for journalism.
The most apparent use of this new technology is how we use it to view exciting stories and developments, but augmented reality can also offer new tools for reporting in the future. Having a HoloLens-like technology that overlays additional information for journalists to utilize when they are developing and formulating their stories, or during interviews is something that can aid in the quality of information we extract from other people for our reports. These lenses and optics are currently in development, but its viability in terms of pricing and return on its investment is a sticking point that most publications have yet to work around.
ZapWorks is a straight forward tool that allows Journalists and Designers to work in collaboration to create multi-scenery experiences and AR video sequences using 3D technology. An example of its functionality and uses within the real world is with the scanning of posters.
Posters can be scanned using a front-facing smartphone camera and overlaid with music and radio players, tools and informational videos. This is an augmented reality experience that can be created via ZapWorks reasonably quickly and allows storytelling opportunities to present themselves more and more in daily life.
Journalism is a field which will always thrive, but the medium and delivery methods are ever changing. There will always be demand for getting news, stories and knowledge within a journalistic framework because it allows us as a society to be reflective, proactive, and informed. The environment in which we consume journalistic stories is however continually evolving, and it just might find stability in augmented reality.