A Summary and Response to AP’s “The Age of Dynamic Storytelling”

I just finished reading Associated Press’s report “The Age of Dynamic Storytelling.” It was a beautifully written twenty-page introduction to dynamic storytelling, which is the seriously exciting future of journalism. Augmented and virtual reality has become increasingly popular over the years, with both Apple (with ARKit) and Google (with Tango) already making impressive advancements in the development process. However, these are heading more in the directing of gaming and entertainment, whereas dynamic storytelling will be centered around news and journalism. This new immersive media will be a key step in our technological advancement as a society.

From this report, I learned that with dynamic storytelling, users will be able to fully immerse themselves and interact with the news story. This technology is young, so there are more questions than answers and more possibilities than impossibilities. We already know that cost, training and production time will be a challenge in and of itself.

Dynamic storytelling, or immersive media, encompasses 360-degree video, augmented reality (AR), and volumetric capture. CGI and 3-D scanning can replicate foreign environments and specific scenarios to add depth and a “heightened sense of immersion.” Specific cameras will be used to create 360 videos and augmented reality will combine the virtual and non-virtual world. Technology will even be able to 3-D scan a users body so they have their own personal avatar. Soon, people can be in the middle of the story, actively engaging and interpreting it as they wish, rather than having a journalist present it to them linearly, like they do now.

With this new form of journalism, participants control how they interpret the story. They discover key aspects of the story in whatever order they choose, perhaps by simply picking up an object. They will determine how they experience the story by moving where they chose when they choose. This results in higher user engagement, user attention and ultimately, a better understanding and memory of the entire experience.

Stories can range anywhere from war coverage to climate change, to the ivory trade in Thailand and many other topics. However, the report stated that “war zone immersive reporting drives participant stimulation, while science and environment stories build open-mindedness.” In these virtual scenarios, there will be real people, real objects, and real people to create the elements that develop the 3-D world.

Game designers have been using this technology for a while now and have made their own developments. Associated Press has recruited some of them to develop their own department of immersive media, while also conducting studies to see the psychological effects it will have. There is a lot of experimentation going on with many different media companies, with Al Jazeera and AP taking leading steps into the production.

This upcoming reality will be a cocktail of 360 videos, augmented reality, CGI, and volumetric 3-D scans to create an entirely new and cohesive experience. It will require training both journalists and users, figuring out how to remain unbiased, and when to buy the latest, most advanced technology. It will be absolutely revolutionary. It will be an improved and unparalleled way to consume media, much like newspapers, the radio, and television once was.

To find the report, click here.

Click here o watch one of AP’s 360 degree video “House to House: The Battle for Mosul”

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