Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in Journalism: Immersive Storytelling

Augmented Reality (Ar) And Virtual Reality (Vr) In Journalism: Immersive Storytelling
As technology continues to evolve rapidly, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the field of journalism must adapt to survive. The rise of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies has brought endless possibilities to journalism, allowing for immersive storytelling like never before. This article will explore the world of AR and VR in journalism, examining how these technologies are changing the way we tell stories and engage with our audiences.

What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes digital elements, such as images, text, or sounds, over the real world. This allows users to experience a mixed reality environment in which the digital and physical worlds are merged. One example of AR in journalism can be seen in the 2016 USA Today Network project, “Harvest of Change.” This project utilized AR to bring attention to the changing landscape of agriculture in America. By scanning a printed image with the “Harvest of Change” app, users were able to see a 3D model of a combine harvester augmented onto the page. The goal of this project was to provide a visual representation of the changes taking place in agriculture that wouldn’t have been possible through traditional storytelling methods. Another example of AR in journalism is the New York Times’ “From Antarctica to Mars: A Journey Through Space.” This project takes users on a journey from Earth to space, allowing them to explore different planets and learn about the history of space exploration. Using AR technology, the experience becomes more immersive, with 3D graphics and animations appearing as users move their phones around. AR technology has shown immense potential in the field of journalism, allowing for more engaging and interactive storytelling that can capture viewers’ attention in a way that traditional methods cannot.

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual reality (VR) technology allows users to enter a completely digital environment that is separate from the physical world. This is done through the use of a headset that creates a 360-degree view of a digital environment. VR technology has been utilized by several news organizations, including the New York Times, to provide more immersive storytelling experiences. One example of this can be seen in the Times’ “The Displaced” project. This project follows the lives of three refugee children in different parts of the world. By using VR technology, viewers are transported to the children’s homes and can see first-hand the harsh realities they face. This project received widespread recognition and was even nominated for an Emmy award. Another example of VR in journalism is the Guardian’s “6×9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement.” This project places users in a solitary confinement cell, utilizing VR technology to provide a more immersive experience. Through the use of sound and animation, users are able to experience the isolation and sensory deprivation that come with being in solitary confinement.

Why Use AR and VR in Journalism?

AR and VR technologies provide new and innovative ways to tell stories, offering more immersive experiences that can help to engage and educate audiences. By utilizing these technologies, journalists are able to provide a more complete picture of the subjects they’re covering, immersing viewers in the environment and allowing them to experience it first-hand. AR technology can provide a way to bring static images to life, providing a more interactive experience for viewers. It can also allow for the visualization of complex data or abstract concepts that would be difficult to represent through traditional methods. VR technology gives viewers a sense of presence in a digital environment, allowing them to experience something they may not have been able to otherwise. This technology can be used to create empathy and understanding, as we saw in the Times’ “The Displaced” project. Overall, the use of AR and VR technology in journalism provides new and innovative ways to tell stories that are engaging and immersive, allowing viewers to experience the subject matter in a way that traditional methods cannot.

Challenges of AR and VR in Journalism

While there are many benefits to using AR and VR in journalism, there are also several challenges that must be addressed. One of the main challenges is the cost associated with producing AR and VR content. These technologies require specialized equipment and expertise, which can be expensive. Another challenge is the limited audience. While VR headsets are becoming more affordable, they are still not accessible to everyone. This means that the audience for VR content is limited. There are also concerns about the potential negative effects of using VR technology, such as motion sickness, disorientation, and eye strain. These concerns must be addressed to ensure that the use of VR in journalism is safe for viewers.

Examples of AR and VR in Journalism

There are countless examples of AR and VR being used in journalism to tell engaging and immersive stories. Here are a few of the most notable examples: 1. “The VR Documentary Series,” The New York Times – This series explores a range of topics, including the refugee crisis, climate change, and the opioid epidemic, using VR technology to provide a more immersive experience for viewers. 2. “Lumen,” The Wall Street Journal – This project uses AR technology to allow users to see how pollution affects the air quality in their immediate surroundings. 3. “Inside North Korea,” ABC News – This VR project takes viewers on a journey through North Korea, providing a glimpse into a country that is largely inaccessible to outsiders. 4. “Notes on Blindness,” The Guardian – This VR experience immerses viewers in the world of a man who is going blind, providing a unique perspective on blindness and human experience.

Future of AR and VR in Journalism

The future of AR and VR in journalism is bright, with new and innovative uses for these technologies being discovered every day. As the cost of producing AR and VR content continues to decrease, we can expect to see more news organizations incorporating these technologies into their storytelling. One potential use of AR and VR in journalism is to provide more context for breaking news events. By utilizing AR technology, news organizations can provide viewers with more in-depth information about what is happening in real-time, making it easier to understand the complex nature of these events. Another potential use of AR and VR in journalism is to create more personalized experiences tailored to the needs and interests of individual viewers. As these technologies become more accessible, we can expect to see news organizations providing more immersive experiences that are tailored to individual viewers’ interests and information needs.


AR and VR technologies have the potential to revolutionize the way we tell stories in journalism, providing more immersive and engaging experiences for viewers. While there are challenges that must be addressed, the benefits of using AR and VR in journalism are clear. As technology continues to evolve, we can expect to see news organizations utilizing these technologies in new and innovative ways to provide more complete and compelling storytelling experiences for their audiences. See you again in another interesting article!

Related video of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in Journalism: Immersive Storytelling