Friday, May 18, 2012

A Closer Look at a Real-Life Form of Immersive Journalism

This week, Nonny de la Pena of the USC Annenberg School of Journalism, joined us in class to discuss some of her latest projects, including Hunger in L.A., which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and to teach us a little bit more about the up and coming idea of 'immersive journalism.' As we've noticed the shift to digital journalism, we see more technology related projects popping up in the industry.

While researching more examples of immersive journalism, I stumbled upon Condition ONE.

Condition ONE is an immersive video player for the iPad, which allows users to simulate being in another environment - one that is not quite virtual, that we saw in Nonny de la Pena's work, but rather a world that was captured using real video footage. For example, Condition ONE has video footage depicting soldiers in battle and the Occupy movement protests. Condition ONE is interesting and unique in that unlike other news organizations who specifically formulate their existing news and layouts to fit mobile devices, such as smartphones, iPads, and tablets, this application was built specifically for the iPad, so there's no need to readjust-to-fit, so to speak. Christian Pilling, of Condition ONE, said, "Condition ONE is, instead, new content, which requires a new syntax and grammar. Groundbreaking in technology, Condition ONE has a lot of potential to really simulate other environments for its users. Like Nonny de la Pena's work, a demo of Condition ONE was available at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, to an excited and interested audience. 

In comparison to the type of immersive journalism that Nonny de la Pena does with the virtual 'Second Life' type environment and avatars, this type of journalism is a bit more realistic with its real-life footage. However, the 'immersive' part may be lacking in comparison, simply because, as shown in the video above, you can easily see the environment you're standing around as you watch the footage on your iPad screen. It appears to be much less intense, because it's almost as if you're watching a movie instead, but from a cameraman's first person perspective. There are no headsets or gear involved, just you, your iPad, and Condition ONE. There's a lot of progress to be made with this program, but the sheer potential of this type of immersive journalism is overwhelming, and I'm sure we will see many more news stories portrayed in this manner very soon.


  1. Have you been able to test out both models of immersive journalism. Do you think they will make apps on smart phones for immersive journalism. Personally, I do not think it is the same at all.

  2. Thanks for posting about this interesting and highly relevant initiative to provide panoramic coverage of news events in conflict zones with the Apple iPad. Having followed some of the screen-moving apps being developed right now, it is interesting to see how interactivity with the news is imagined.

  3. I personally haven't been able to test out either type of immersive journalism, but I think the term needs to be properly defined because these are two different types of journalism - one simulated and one realistic and that can be a huge difference in the way one interacts with a story or issue.