Virtual Reality & the Design of a New Journalistic Truth

Theis Holtz Hansen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Virtual reality has recently claimed the attention of practitioners of journalism. The technology is finally mature enough to reach a level of mass consumption. For journalism, this is an opportunity to develop new media products where users can experience the news as being there. However, very little knowledge of how to utilize the capabilities of this promising technology exists within the news industry.
To address this problem I explored the journalistic truth that virtual reality might offer. The journalistic truth can be said to be the sum of the interplay between practice and technology. Through design exploration I created a prototype which was evaluated by potential users. The journalistic truth of the prototype can be described as a media product, where users gain a deeper understanding of the subject through their own discoveries. Driven by their own curiosity users explored the virtual reality, and by acting the users experienced presence. They felt more knowledgeable about the place they visited in virtual reality.
To create a sense of presence however, journalists must change their practice. Contemporary journalism assumes a passive audience receiving information. This logic works well with mass media, but fail with virtual reality, which benefits from a high level of interactivity. Instead of employing the role of storytellers, journalist should think of themselves as designers of tools. Journalists should create tools users can interact with in order to pursue their curiosity and become more knowledgeable about the world

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and E-business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages83
SupervisorsTorkil Clemmensen