As with any educational experience with skills-based lessons, the best measure and greatest revealer of what has been retained and what is still yet to learn come through doing. As I begin researching and synthesizing information for my new media study in virtual reality, I also realize that New Media Photography gives me a foundation for which to explore. By exposing me to a few tools and techniques I can build upon, the class trains me to think large.
All this is to say, I have not come by my new media project easily. Certain, obvious challenges present themselves when working in such a novel and newly ventured space. Many of the articles I am reading are speculative. Since virtual reality has not been widely adopted or commonly used by newsrooms, practical understanding and application are difficult to come by. Moreover, beta testing in a research lab does not necessarily easily translate to practice by working journalists nor to a quality experience by a user, reader, viewer or news consumer. This additionally means that certain rules, procedures and ethics have to be self-imposed and formulated based on previous similar technology if not simply intuition.
I look forward to our upcoming trip to The Weather Channel. If any platform, if any newsroom, if any subject matter lends itself strongest to virtual, augmented or mixed reality, it’s The Weather Channel. Who has not secretly wished to experience the feeling of being inside a tornado or at the eye of a hurricane without knowing that it almost certainly guarantees the end of his or her existence? But furthermore, dramatic weather events can displace families and individuals temporarily and sometimes permanently. A virtual reality experience can help increase the greater understanding of the severity of severe weather events. The Weather Channel, I'm sure, would be a great research outlet for this subject.