The Ethical Challenges of Immersive Journalism

It’s the year 2028. In your virtual reality (VR) headset, where you can watch the news in an immersive, 360-degree view, the President of the United States is standing in front of you. But are you sure it’s really the president, and not a simulation reciting some troll’s script? Can you trust VR journalists to be honest with audiences and follow journalistic ethics? Questions of ethics and transparency are growing among journalists and scholars, as media companies increasingly experiment with the power of VR and augmented reality (AR.) Both technological advances allow users to interact personally with news reports via the creation of virtual scenes viewed through headsets. Now that misinformation is increasingly a problem for the media industry, the challenge for VR journalism is to prevent dishonest organizations and individuals from producing fake VR work and passing it off as real. Meanwhile, the high cost of creating immersive
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Another One Bites the Dust: Can Independent Web Journalism Survive?

Are we seeing the end of financially independent, free-spirited  journalism on the web? The signs point to an answer that’s not encouraging. Independent publications, large and small, are struggling or shuttering. Legacy publications, too, are contracting. There are a few standout successes, and there’s still a path for the would-be journalistic entrepreneur – but that path is narrowing. Examples of the struggles abound. The Awl, beloved by a passionate core audience for what its editor called its “uncompromising” and “intelligent” take on the news, is dead. DNAInfo and Gothamist, two digital-first pillars of independent local news, were shuttered late last year after their staffs unionized because, said CEO Joe Rickets, they were not financially sustainable. Larger independents are showing strains, as well. BuzzFeed is reportedly struggling with revenues, Mashable was acquired at a “fire sale” price. Gawker, that icon of independent, snarky and profitable journalism, was, as previously noted here,
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What ‘Engagement Reporting’ Is and Why It Matters

What if readers, not just sources, were an active part of the news reporting process? A new group of journalists is exploring that possibility in an effort to deepen their reporting and build community relationships. “Engagement reporters” are journalists who combine the power of community engagement with traditional news reporting to do journalism that aims to authentically serve the community and reflect their interests and needs. They’re not audience engagement editors and they’re not news reporters — they live in both worlds. These roles are relatively new and still somewhat unclear, and the structure depends on the newsroom’s engagement mindset. But they add value to newsrooms by engaging with the audience throughout the reporting process and encouraging a focus on serving the community. I interviewed 12 journalists that fit this role in newsrooms across the U.S. to better understand how engagement reporters fit into newsrooms and the value they
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As FCC Destroys Localism, Public Media Could Save Local News

Local news won’t be local for much longer.

A series of moves by the Federal Communications Commission threatens to drastically impact how we conceive of “local” news in the future. The FCC recently voted to relax limits on how many television stations one company can own in a single market, and to eliminate a rule prohibiting cross-ownership of a newspaper and broadcast station in the same community. Another change ended a requirement that local TV and radio stations have actual studios in the communities they serve. These changes are likely to result in a new wave of consolidation, with large national corporations buying up local stations in communities where they have no connections.

The new FCC regime seems intent on destroying localism, the bedrock principle in American telecommunications since the Federal Radio Act of 1927. By making broadcast licensees serve their local communities, the rules forced broadcasters to assume responsibilities

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Special Series: 2017 Year in Review

2017 was another year of evolution at breakneck speed for the media industry. “Fake news,” net neutrality, the continuing fallout of #MeToo, inspiring collaborations — there’s much to reflect on, and we invited several media-watching luminaries to share their thoughts with us in our special year-end series. And what’s on the horizon for 2018? While we looked back we also considered what’s coming up, which technologies are important to watch and which could be transformative. The series will run throughout the holidays and into the new year.

Series Posts

How Collaborative Journalism Reached New Heights in 2017 by Stefanie Murray

Coming Soon

The Rise of Stories, Facebook Global Domination & More Social Media Headlines of 2017 by Tory Starr
10 Biggest Media Stories of 2017 by Bianca Fortis
Top MetricShift Trends of the Year by Jason Alcorn
EdShift 2017: Educators Focus on Social Media, Digital-First Newsrooms and ‘Fake News’ by Continue reading "Special Series: 2017 Year in Review"

Investigative Multimedia Unit Brings New Life to Malaysia’s ‘Star’ Newspaper

This piece originally appeared at The Splice Newsroom. In June 2016, the online documentary “Predator in My Phone” exposed an alarmed public to the dangers faced by Malaysia’s increasingly connected children, inspiring a campaign that captured the attention of celebrities, NGOs and politicians, and spawned a new law targeting child sex crime. The result of a ten-month undercover investigation by R.AGE, a millennial-focussed multimedia unit at Malaysian newspaper The Star, the series has now accumulated some 4.5 million views on its Facebook page alone. Audience engagement is an integral part of R.AGE’s work and campaigning is central to its remit, says executive producer Ian Yee, who argues that journalists can offer solutions to problems when they are confident their reporting is objective. “I don’t see there being any kind of conflict. I think a lot of millennials don’t see that either, don’t see that there
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4 Things Every Media Organization Can Learn from the Knight News Challenge

To say that it is a tough time in the media business is to state the patently obvious. Last week, some of the biggest and brightest in the digital media space took major hits to their earnings, staffing and valuations. And the steady dwindling of local media has been well-documented. In this chilly climate, it is heartening to find some bright lights in investment in digital media experimentation and innovation, one of which is the Knight Foundation’s Knight News Challenge (KNC). Launched in 2006 to invest in new ideas and individuals to support innovation in news and information the KNC has provided more than $48 million to fund 139 projects in the United States and around the world. (Editor’s Note: MediaShift received a grant from the Knight News Challenge in 2007 to launch Idea Lab.) To better understand the impact of the KNC on its winners, their projects, and
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