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360° video journalism : experimental study on the effect of immersion on news experience and distant suffering

Kristin Van Damme (UGent) , Anissa All (UGent) , Lieven De Marez (UGent) and Sarah Van Leuven (UGent)
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Abstract
News producers are increasingly experimenting with news in virtual reality and 360° video, which is often presented as the ultimate form of immersive journalism as it provides viewers with a first-person experience of a news event. Audiences are deemed to be more involved with the presented story, raising assumptions that they may be more engaged with the event and feel more empathic towards the subject of the story, especially in the case of foreign news, as distance is virtually narrowed. This experimental study (n = 149) assesses whether 360° international disaster news leads to a higher sense of presence, higher enjoyment, higher subjective involvement towards the topic, and increased engagement with distant suffering towards the victim. Using an existing news item produced by the Belgian public broadcaster VRT on a Syrian oil worker, a between-subject experimental study was undertaken, comparing four 360° video conditions: single viewpoint, drag-anddrop 360°, 360° with a cardboard VR device, and 360° with a head-mounted VR device. A verbal, qualitative debrief allowed for a better understanding of the results, which show that 360° video journalism leads to a higher sense of presence and higher levels of enjoyment. However, no effect on distant suffering or subjective involvement is found.
Keywords
360° video, distant suffering, immersive journalism, multi-method design, presence, VR journalism

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Chicago
Van Damme, Kristin, Anissa All, Lieven De Marez, and Sarah Van Leuven. 2019. “360° Video Journalism : Experimental Study on the Effect of Immersion on News Experience and Distant Suffering.” Journalism Studies: 1–24.
APA
Van Damme, Kristin, All, A., De Marez, L., & Van Leuven, S. (2019). 360° video journalism : experimental study on the effect of immersion on news experience and distant suffering. JOURNALISM STUDIES, 1–24.
Vancouver
1.
Van Damme K, All A, De Marez L, Van Leuven S. 360° video journalism : experimental study on the effect of immersion on news experience and distant suffering. JOURNALISM STUDIES. 2019;1–24.
MLA
Van Damme, Kristin, Anissa All, Lieven De Marez, et al. “360° Video Journalism : Experimental Study on the Effect of Immersion on News Experience and Distant Suffering.” JOURNALISM STUDIES (2019): 1–24. Print.
@article{8589298,
  abstract     = {News producers are increasingly experimenting with news in virtual reality and 360{\textdegree} video, which is often presented as the ultimate form of immersive journalism as it provides viewers with a first-person experience of a news event. Audiences are deemed to be more involved with the presented story, raising assumptions that they may be more engaged with the event and feel more empathic towards the subject of the story, especially in the case of foreign
news, as distance is virtually narrowed. This experimental study (n = 149) assesses whether 360{\textdegree} international disaster news leads to a higher sense of presence, higher enjoyment, higher subjective involvement towards the topic, and increased engagement with distant suffering towards the victim. Using an existing news item produced by the Belgian public broadcaster VRT on a Syrian oil worker, a between-subject experimental study was undertaken, comparing four 360{\textdegree} video conditions: single viewpoint, drag-anddrop 360{\textdegree}, 360{\textdegree} with a cardboard VR device, and 360{\textdegree} with a head-mounted VR device. A verbal, qualitative debrief allowed for a better understanding of the results, which show that 360{\textdegree} video journalism leads to a higher sense of presence and higher levels of enjoyment. However, no effect on distant suffering or subjective involvement is found.},
  author       = {Van Damme, Kristin and All, Anissa and De Marez, Lieven and Van Leuven, Sarah},
  issn         = {1461-670X},
  journal      = {JOURNALISM STUDIES},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1--24},
  title        = {360{\textdegree} video journalism : experimental study on the effect of immersion on news experience and distant suffering},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1461670x.2018.1561208},
  year         = {2019},
}

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