Multimedia/ Digital Storytelling and Virtual Reality

Digital Storytelling- what is it?

Multimedia stories are a key aspect of Journalism 2.o. Like all stories, they include a collection of text, pictures, video, audio, and graphics. But, they are in a nonlinear format.


In the multimedia story Talking to the Taliban, published by The Globe and Mail, users can choose to navigate through the story through the different parts which are each compiled of text, videos, graphics, and audio. They are not reading a story from top to bottom- illustrating a nonlinear format. The multimedia story received a lot of attention and the digital storytelling method is a way to keep readers interactive.

Another example of a multi media story is Hope: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica. This story is compiled of a series of poems, written by Kwame Dawes, inspired by people he met in Jamaica living with aids. Readers can navigate through each poem with audio as well as learn about the people behind the poems themselves. This is an example of an interactive way to keep users interested and informed on moving issues throughout the world.

The National Edition lists some of their favorite multimedia storytelling platforms:

  • Creatavist– monthly collection of interactive multimedia pieces

Steller– iOS app that is model for smartphone viewing and unique layering of text on photos and clips


  • Hatch– focuses on digital storytelling for social impact organizations, has attracted partners from TIME to Facebook to US Department of State


Virtual Reality- what is it?

According to Marxent Labs, “Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. By simulating as many senses as possible, such as vision, hearing, touch, even smell, the computer is transformed into a gatekeeper to this artificial world.”

Some VR headsets, like Google’s Daydream headset and the Samsung Gear VR, video is already on the smartphone which is placed into the headset. The goal of these headsets is to place users into real life videos, creating a 3D virtual environment that lacks boundaries found with other forms of technology. Wherever you look, the screen will follow.

So- what’s the point?

Entertainment is an obvious answer. Video games and interactive videos are utilizing the creation of VR. But, there are more uses for it- academic research, engineering, design, business, the arts.  People can visit places that are too dangerous, impractical, or expensive to go to. For example, people can go to a war zone and see what soldiers across the world are fighting against. They can gain real life experience in a virtual way that they could have never experience otherwise. The Virtual Reality Society says that “As the cost of virtual reality goes down and it becomes more mainstream you can expect more serious uses, such as education or productivity applications, to come to the fore. Virtual reality and its cousin augmented reality could substantively change the way we interface with our digital technologies. Continuing the trend of humanising our technology.” So, it’s important to note all of the uses of VR- not just its entertainment appeal.




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