I have an augmented reality view of the next big thing in journalism

It’s been a bit of a buzz for some time now, years even, but one of the technologies approaching wide-scale use that is likely to upend current journalism in augmented reality.

English: iPhone using the Wikitude application...

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It not only threatens to further disrupt the advertising-supported model of most traditional media, it will bring new journalistic story forms, tools and platforms.

The question of what’s next to journalism is our February topic of the Carnival of Journalism and was put forth by long-time digital journalist Steve Outing who posed the question this way:

“What emerging technology or digital trend do you think will have a significant impact on journalism in the year or two ahead? And how do you see it playing out in terms of application by journalists, and impact?”

The promise and the hype of Augmented Reality has been around for awhile, but new technologies never really catch on until they get close to “even-my-mother-can-do-it” simple.

AR is getting there.

Just in recent days come reports that Google will begin marketing Google Goggles later this year. Talk about geeky glasses, these are said to look like Oakley Thumps, run the Android operating system and be much like smartphones with GPS sensors, 4G cell service and inputs/outputs for video and audio.

At the prestigious Sundance Film Festival toward the end of last month, documentary “Hunger in L.A.” from former Newsweek correspondent Nonny de la Pe´┐Ża got a lot of attention as an immersive piece that went beyond just showcasing gee-whiz technology and actually told a compelling story.

Georgia Tech has been doing a lot of work around its Argon augmented reality browser and software that let content creators instead of programmers create AR presentations.

For most of my World of the Future predictions I rely on what Dick Tracy was using in the comic strip that ended in 1977. The two-way wrist radio, for example, was introduced in 1946; the two-way wrist TV in 1964. Looking back 50 years, so far for me at least, has been a pretty good forecasting tool for what might be hot next. It will be fascinating to read all the other Carnival of Journalism outlooks for the future. A round up should be posted by early next week; several are already in as I write this.

Some could say, and some will undoubtedly say, news organizations have been experimenting with story telling with AR for four or five years or more. And that’s true. The problem: Consumers were not experimenting with them. It has been chest-thumping tech, cutting-edge cool, and completely irrelevant.

Now, however, trends and technologies are converging. Powerful smartphones can run easy to use AR software. Consumer products like the forthcoming Google Goggles are coming. Content creation tools are available that don’t require a team of hackers. Coupled with open standards, this segment is poised to redefine what is “a story.”

Watch for the signs!

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The old dog, new tricks problem

A great read for anyone worried about the newspaper business from John Paton, CEO of Digital First Media:

As career journalists we have entered a new era where what we know and what we traditionally do has finally found its value in the marketplace and that value is about zero.

Our traditional journalism models and our journalistic efforts are inefficient and up against the Crowd – armed with mobile devices and internet connections- incomplete.

Our response to date as an industry has been as equally inefficient and in many cases emotional.

“You’re gonna miss us when we’re gone” is not much of a business model.

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The slant on media bias

The Wall Street Journal is among the most liberal media outlets in the U.S., more liberal than the New York Times and NPR. And the Drudge Report is left leaning, yes, left leaning, more left leaning than CNN.

One study found:

The most important factor driving the slant of a given newspaper is … the political leanings of the people who buy it. In other words: newspapers are giving the people the news that they want.

Surprised? Agree?

See how 20 national media outlets rank and more on media bias in How Biased Is Your Media?: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast.

(H/T: Danny McCall)

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Has a tablet replaced your ‘main’ computer for reading news?

Interesting survey. If you have a few minutes, help grad student full-time faculty member in the University of Kentucky Division of Instructional
Communicatio Chas Hartman by taking it. He’s trying to answer:

  • How is consumers’ use of tablets such as the iPad and the Kindle Fire for gathering news and information impacting their use of laptops and desktop computers?
  • How is consumers’ use of digital applications to gather news and information impacting their use of traditional Web sites?
  • How will consumers’ needs and wants influence their future choices of technology for the purposes of communicating and gathering news and information?

From an email he is sending to prospective survey takers:

Dear potential volunteer:

Would you like to participate in an anonymous online survey about the ways in which you gather news and information? The survey will only take 5-10 minutes for you to complete, and your participation will provide data for my ongoing communication research. There are no known risks to participating in this study.

If you would like to take the short survey, please go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/newstech. The survey will only be open for about one month. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me using the information below. Thanks in advance for participating in this study.

Dr. Chas J. Hartman
Division of Instructional Communication, University of Kentucky
PHONE: 859-257-7263
E-MAIL: cjhart2@email.uky.edu

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