The moral mandate of virtual reality journalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Virtual reality (VR) and other emerging immersive media not only present an opportunity for innovation in journalism but also raise important ethical questions. These ethical questions fall largely in three areas. First, although immersive media may foster heightened user engagement and increase empathy, they also may lead users to believe the virtual is real. This signals an ethical conundrum for journalism: design news experiences that can heighten user engagement, empathy, and understanding, but at the same time also possibly contribute to the increasingly blurred line between fact and fiction. Second, immersive media may adversely affect user privacy. Traditional, narrow field-of-view cameras restrict to a limited range what can be recorded and then seen, and individuals physically present at a news venue can readily see and appreciate if they are being captured by a camera. VR cameras, or 360-degree cameras, can take in an entire panoramic view, and persons who think they are not before the camera lens may not realize they are being observed, recorded, or even transmitted. Third, the use of immersive media in news reporting may change the story, possibly affecting the behavior of news sources or subjects central to a story.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Journalism Ethics
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780429553301
ISBN (Print)9780429262708
StatePublished - Aug 20 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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