In recently years, scholars’ attention have been drawn to the use of VR and digital animation in news. More studies have been devoted to investigate the effects of using these technologies in news production on media users. In May 2021, the two researchers of this project presented a research paper titled “The Use of VR in News and News Information Learning” in the Annual Conference of International Communication Association (Lo and Cheng, 2021). The result of the study showed that users viewing plain news video and VR news video using mobile phones about sub-divided flat residents recalled more details about the news story, compared to those who viewed VR video using Cardboard goggles. The researchers suggested that users might be distracted in the VR environment when they used Cardboard goggles, and thus they recalled less information about the news story.
Another unpublished study by the two researchers showed that users who viewed VR news story about domestic maids in Hong Kong displayed more sympathy towards these news characters, and thus increased their evaluation towards the news. Their counterparts who viewed plain video displayed less sympathy towards the maids and showed less positive evaluations towards the news.
There has not yet been a conclusive academic judgement on the effects of using new storytelling technologies in news production. It is believed that there will be more discussions among scholars, researchers and journalists when the technologies are getting more prominent in news production process.
Lo, W.H., & Cheng, B.K.L. (2021). The Use of VR in News and News Information Learning. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of International Communication Association. USA, 27 – 31 May.