Virtual Reality as a Tool for Immersive Journalism


  • Sally Mandela The University of Nairobi



Virtual Reality (VR), Immersive Journalism, Media Technology, Audience Engagement, Storytelling, User Experience


Purpose: The general objective of this study was to explore Virtual Reality as a tool for immersive journalism.

Methodology: The study adopted a desktop research methodology. Desk research refers to secondary data or that which can be collected without fieldwork. Desk research is basically involved in collecting data from existing resources hence it is often considered a low cost technique as compared to field research, as the main cost is involved in executive's time, telephone charges and directories. Thus, the study relied on already published studies, reports and statistics. This secondary data was easily accessed through the online journals and library.

Findings: The findings reveal that there exists a contextual and methodological gap relating to Virtual Reality as a tool for immersive journalism. Preliminary empirical review revealed that Virtual Reality (VR) significantly transformed journalism by enhancing audience engagement and empathy through immersive storytelling. It found that VR allowed viewers to experience news events firsthand, leading to better information retention and a deeper emotional connection. Despite its benefits, the study also highlighted challenges such as ethical concerns about emotional manipulation and high production costs. However, it anticipated that as technology advanced and became more affordable, VR would be more widely adopted in journalism, potentially redefining how news is reported and consumed.

Unique Contribution to Theory, Practice and Policy: The Media Richness Theory, Presence Theory and Cognitive Load Theory may be used to anchor future studies on using VR for immersive journalism. The study recommended expanding existing media theories to incorporate VR's capabilities, emphasizing Media Richness and Presence Theories. Practically, it advised news organizations to invest in VR technology and training, promoting interdisciplinary collaboration for impactful storytelling. Policy recommendations included establishing ethical guidelines and making VR technology more accessible. The study stressed enhancing audience engagement through interactive VR experiences and addressing ethical considerations with comprehensive guidelines and transparency. Lastly, it encouraged ongoing research and innovation, proposing collaborations with academic institutions and longitudinal studies to assess VR's long-term effects on journalism.


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How to Cite

Mandela, S. . (2024). Virtual Reality as a Tool for Immersive Journalism. Journal of Communication, 5(3), 17–30.