Grady College professors, Ivanka Pjesivac and Grace Ahn, received grants as 2017 Emerging Scholars for their project on the topic of “Virtual Reality Journalism: Emotions and News Credibility.”
The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication’s awards the $3,500 grant and travel support to winners of its Emerging Scholars Program. This program is one of the most prestigious research recognitions for junior scholars in the association.
“Virtual reality has been present for some time, but virtual reality journalism, also called immersive journalism, is a relatively new storytelling technique starting to be used by The New York Times and The Guardian,” said Pjesivac, an assistant professor of journalism.
The professors noted that their study is one of the first to empirically test immersive journalism’s impact on the audience’s ability to empathize with the journalistic subject. Because the news method is highly engaging, many believe it will allow audiences to better experience the news firsthand.
“Many have suggested the promise of virtual reality as a novel platform for storytelling,” added Ahn, an assistant professor of advertising. “Despite the enthusiasm, however, the question of whether virtual reality is indeed an effective journalistic channel remains grossly underexplored.”
The 2017 AEJMC selection committees received 70 total submissions and spent hours reviewing applicant’s research proposals. This year, the selection process was particularly competitive.
Determining factors for a winning proposal include innovation, importance to the discipline, clarity of background research, reality of project completion during time available and intelligent use of funds.