Virtual and augmented reality will soon make its way into newsrooms across the country. At least, that’s the prediction from news executives at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) Conference during a session titled: The McGraw Symposium: Reshaping Coverage for the Mobile/Social/Video World.
Just like marketers, news executives want to leverage new technology to reach and engage with readers. The session shed light on the innovative ways newsrooms are evolving and adapting to today’s technology, according to moderator Jane Sasseen, executive director at the McGraw Center for Business Journalism, and speakers Nikhil Deogun, editor-in-chief and senior vice president of CNBC Business News, James Ledbetter, editor of Inc. Magazine and Inc.com, and Joanne Lipman, chief content officer for Gannett.
According to Lipman and Deogun, both USA Today and CNBC are jumping to embrace this technology, even though it is still at an experimental stage. Lipman revealed that USA Today is creating the first virtual reality program aimed at storytelling and also plans to tap into augmented reality experiences à la Pokémon Go.
Virtual and augmented reality aside, podcasts are also increasingly becoming big business for news outlets such as Inc.com, according to Ledbetter. Inc.com is among several top media brands including, The New York Times Magazine and Huffington Post, airing programming through a podcast network called Panoply, launched last year by The Slate Group.
These are just a few examples of how the way in which we get our news is also rapidly changing, and we can blame or praise Facebook for that.
Just like hard copy newspapers, the number of readers clicking on news websites to read stories is dwindling thanks to social media platforms like Facebook. And that’s OK, according to the SABEW speakers, because Facebook has become a good content partner for news outlets. In fact, 62% of percent of Americans use Facebook as our main news source.
But it’s a double-edged sword, according to Lipman and Ledbetter. While the platform allows readers to discover new content and send traffic back to the outlets’ website, they are concerned that Facebook has become so powerful that it’s beginning to operate less like a utility and more like a newsroom.
As new technologies continue to transform the way we get our news, one thing is clear – news executives seem to be more optimistic about embracing the digital world.