Kris Hodgson

Virtual Reality/ 360 Degree Storytelling: the Future of Journalism

Journalism, considered by some to be the first draft of history, has been evolving for the past two decades. While  the sales department grapples with how to convince various businesses to advertise on various platforms, editorial departments are trying to identify the best way to attract a reader to their content. Berger & Luckman (1967) speak to how the media contributes to the social construction of reality. Because of this great responsibility bestowed upon the industry, the treatment of the news gathering process is as important as ever. In an age where alternative facts and discrediting news organizations are a daily occurrence, the role of journalism in the public sphere must be re-evaluated.

Storytelling and journalism are becoming more blended as the role of journalists continues to change and critical thinking remains an important aspect of making sense of the world around us. Traditional formats are struggling with maintaining viewers, while new mediums are being explored beyond stories viewed on mobile devices with written, audio and video components.

Storytelling in Virtual Reality Journalism is one of these concepts that is so new, many people don’t understand what it means. The term VR journalism is used interchangeably with 360-degree video when they are two vastly different concepts. VR is a fabricated scenario that viewers re-live, while 360-degree is real footage from an actual event or place. For the purpose of this symposium, I will focus on 360-degree journalism.

Kris Hodgson is a Digital Journalism Instructor in the Digital Communications and Media department at Lethbridge College. He is currently pursuing his masters in Virtual Reality (360 degree) storytelling through the University of Alberta’s Masters of Arts in Communication and Technology program. Hodgson’s varied background includes working for weekly newspapers across western Canada, working for economic development agencies in Leduc/Nisku and Lethbridge as well as working as a wind energy community liaison with Lethbridge College’s International Wind Energy Academy advocating for renewable energy adoption.