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Introduction

Whether one likes the idea of Augmented Reality or not, there is no question that this technology is becoming a big topic in the media world. However, this new type of reality is not limited to Google Glass or other high-tech devices. It is helpful and necessary for journalists and other writers to understand how Augmented Reality will undoubtedly change the publishing field. The following white paper will review possible scenarios of Augmented Reality for journalists and how to best use the technology to their utmost advantage.

What is Augmented Reality?

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion concerning Augmented Reality.  Considered an emerging technology, Augmented Reality (AR) allows for the real time blending of the real world with digital information which is processed by a computer.[1] It is important not to confuse AR with virtual reality, which is a digital experience that mimics various real-world situations.[2] In other words, AR is a view of reality that is digitally enhanced by computer generated graphics through a camera lens.[3] According to one definition, Augmented Reality can refer to any application that 1) combines the real world and the digital world 2) is both interactive as well as in real time, 3) and is 3D or three dimensional.[4]

The History of AR

While there are too many technologies that have developed AR as it is known today to cover in just a brief section, it is necessary to know a few of the main advances. Although AR may seem futuristic and has only been available for consumers for a relatively short time, the concept has been a tool that scientists have used for many years. In fact, some argue that the idea of AR was first introduced in 1901 in writer L. Frank Baum’s short story, The Master Key, where the main character wore special spectacles that relieved another person’s character.[5] Over the next several decades, AR slowly developed from sheer idea to Morton Heilig’s Sensorama, a machine that generated artificial environments for the user’s senses in 1957.[6]

However, the term “Augmented Reality” was officially coined in 1990 by Boeing researcher Thomas P. Caudell, who used the phrase to describe a head-mounted digital display that helped teach workers how to assemble electrical wires in aircrafts.[7] Later, in 1992, the first functioning AR system was created for the United States Air Force called virtual fixtures, which allowed users to see cues which helped guide tasks.[8] Now, the focus of AR implementation is on devices which provide easy consumer accessibility such as through apps for mobile and tablet apps for Android and Apple.

The Future of AR and Journalism

However, the question still remains to how journalists fit into the AR equation. As with the popularity of the Internet, the journalism will have to change and accommodate to the world of AR. There are, however, several instances in which AR can aid the field.

Over the last couple of years, Augmented Reality has been applied to pictures and posters. Now, AR is being applied to print media to provide a richer story environment.[9] AR introduces the concept of the “living magazine,” where users can see additional text, data, pictures, and video that is not seen directly on the printed magazine itself.[10] With the aid of a smartphone, webcam, or tablet, AR takes the print reading experience to a whole new level. mixed media approach is also relevant from a journalists’ standpoint.

One example of an AR app that journalists and publications have used is Aurasma.

One example of an AR app that journalists and publications have used is Aurasma.

AR can provide updated content to the reader, long after the newspaper or magazine is published. Users are accessing this augmented content through AR apps like Aurasma and Junaio on their smartphones and tablets to read news media such as New York Times, Financial Times, and USA Today.[11]  Using AR in this format even has the ability to revitalize the publication industry by encouraging users to still purchase the print product with the promise of updated content.[12]

In addition to possibly revitalizing the print industry, AR can allow journalists to have a more user-centered approach to storytelling. This includes encouraging consumers to become citizen journalists where they can report and interact with journalists based on their own unique experience through augmented reality.[13]

 

google glass

Google’s AR glasses, called Goggle Glass are set to become big in the upcoming years. Journalists can use these glasses to their advantage through live reporting and interacting with users.

AR offers geo-tagging and global positioning technology, which gives users the ability to access specific content from the Internet based on their exact location.[14] While there are many concerns about privacy issues with AR due to possible data, location and facial recognition abilities, journalists can utilize this to its advantage.[15] By knowing specific whereabouts of an individual person, event, or place, reporting can become a more engaging process.[16] For example, examine a scenario with one emerging technology, the AR glasses by Google Glass. With Google Glass, a journalist could report live and record breaking news from any location while a user could use his or her goggles to scan a variety of journalistic sources to gather the best information about the situation.[17]

Advertising has always been and will continue to be a big issue in the journalism field. However, the landscape of advertising can change drastically with AR. Journalists and specific publications can use AR to make advertising fun and engaging to a niche group of targeted users, making the ads more helpful and less disruptive.[18] Additionally, AR in print advertising has the capacity to strengthen reader loyalty by keeping up with both current trends and user needs.[19]

Although a future for AR and journalism looks promising, more research and development needs to take place. While AR apps on mobile devices will continue to grow in popularity, other AR technology such as Google Glass needs to be analyzed further in relation to journalists and publishing.  Even though there is a long way to go, AR could possibly aid in a sort of journalism revolution.


[1] AR-media: Inglobe Technologies. (n.d.) Augmented reality and the future of

printing and publishing. Retrieved from http://www.inglobetechnologies.com/docs/whitepapers/AR_printing_whitepaper_en.pdf.

[2] Sawers, P. (2011, Jul. 3). Augmented reality: the past, present and future. Retrieved from http://thenextweb.com/insider/2011/07/03/augmented-reality-the-past-present-and-future/.

[3] Perdue, T. (2013). Applications of Augmented Reality: Augmented Reality is Evolving as Computing Power Increases. Retrieved from http://newtech.about.com/od/softwaredevelopment/a/Applications-Of-Augmented-Reality.htm.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Peddie, J. (2013, Jan. 15). Augmented reality showing us stuff that’s not there. Retrieved from http://jonpeddie.com/back-pages/comments/augmented-reality/.

[6] Sung, D. (2011, Mar. 11). The history of augmented reality. Retrieved from http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/108888-the-history-of-augmented-reality.

[7] Sawers, P. (2011, Jul. 3). Augmented reality: the past, present and future. The Next Web. Retrieved from http://thenextweb.com/insider/2011/07/03/augmented-reality-the-past-present-and-future/.

[8] Sung, D. (2011, Mar. 11). The history of augmented reality. Pocket-lint.com. Retrieved from http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/108888-the-history-of-augmented-reality.

[9] Bajarin, T. (2012, Dec. 10). Augmented reality is revolutionizing the publishing industry (finally!). PCmag.com Retrieved from http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412990,00.asp.

[10] Bunz, M. (2010, Jan. 7). How journalists can use augmented reality. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/pda/2010/jan/06/journalism-augmented-reality.

[11] Pavlik, J. and Bridges, F. (2013). The emergence of augmented reality (AR) as a storytelling medium in journalism. Journalism & Communication Monographs, 15, 4-59. doi: 10.1177/1522637912470819

[12] Online journalism blog. (2010). Augmenting reality through journalism. Retrieved from http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2010/02/03/augmenting-reality-through-journalism/

[13] Pavlik, J. and Bridges, F. (2013). The emergence of augmented reality (AR) as a storytelling medium in journalism. Journalism & Communication Monographs, 15, 4-59. doi: 10.1177/1522637912470819

[14] McAthy, R. (2012). Augmented reality: opportunities for news outlets. Journalism.co.uk. Retrieved from http://www.journalism.co.uk/news/augmented-reality-opportunities-for-news-outlets/s2/a551526/

[15] Havens, J. (2013, Feb. 8). The impending social consequences of augmented reality. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2013/02/08/augmented-reality-future/.

[16] Pavlik, J. and Bridges, F. (2013). The emergence of augmented reality (AR) as a storytelling medium in journalism. Journalism & Communication Monographs, 15, 4-59. doi: 10.1177/1522637912470819

[17] Ibid.

[18] Online journalism blog. (2010). Augmenting reality through journalism. Retrieved from http://onlinejournalismblog.com/2010/02/03/augmenting-reality-through-journalism/

[19] Pavlik, J. and Bridges, F. (2013). The emergence of augmented reality (AR) as a storytelling medium in journalism. Journalism & Communication Monographs, 15, 4-59. doi: 10.1177/1522637912470819

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