Author: Olivia Johnson

Vision Paper

Olivia Johnson
New 300
Vision Paper

The traditional form of journalism, newspapers, will not exist in a few years. However, for the other forms such as the digital aspect, there are a number of possibilities and realms that the field can go in. This is where modern technology comes in and can really make online journalism a vibrant and interactive space. The amount of new ways to convey messages is uncanny and really has bridged the generational gap, being able to reach an array for people from all walks of life. Everything from push alerts to 360 cameras and augmented reality have really given the audience something to look forward to when viewing the news. Also, the numerous ways the news can be distributed, from cell phone applications to videos on a tablet to crawlers on TV screens there are endless opportunities for journalists and media outlets to captures the audience’s attention. If the industry was able to capitalize on the numerous mediums being used another way than advertising then it could revitalize the entire business. Most importantly the outlets would be able to report the news more accurately and timely than previously done.

One of the ways the media industry can rebrand itself and gain some more credibility is by getting access to places that it has traditionally not been able to see easily or cheaply. This can be done through photography and videography on drones. Drones can reach heights that reporters can’t without helicopter access or paying someone that knows how to use a drone to fly. If media outlets had easier access to drones they could cover breaking news such as traffic jams or natural disasters faster and easier than they currently can. It would also be tremendously cheaper and they would be the owner of their content instead of buying footage from a third party. In addition to the price, media outlets would be able to give the public a better understanding of situations because of the proximity and the aerial view that could be obtained from using a drone. With drones the risks are minimal; permission and training are the obstacles that are preventing the wide use of drones in the industry. Once this hurdle is crossed a new form of reporting will take place. Maybe drones will fly over a fire and a journalist will do a live or voice over of the scene for web and live packages. The possibilities are endless.

Augmented reality is another possibility for the industry when reporting on the news. With augmented reality a person can be in their home or office and dually be in another reality, as opposed to being completely immersed in a fake or recorded universe. In this augmented world, a person can be taught how to fix appliances live from a plumber somewhere else or experience their children being in the room with them that are in actuality far away. It would be very interesting how the media could use this new space to incorporate the news. What if a person woke up in the morning and saw a cloud hanging over their bed to inform them that there was going to be inclement weather? What if people could experience morning show interviews with politicians or a celebrity right in their living room? This could take interactivity with news to the next level. There would no longer be a middle man of sorts when it comes to the people and the news, both would be one in a sense. HoloLens is the product that allows for this kind of experience and although it is not currently available for the masses to use. Once it is, it can be a great platform for the media to use to have interactive informational experiences for their audience. Who wouldn’t want to have a live interview in their home or know the weather as soon as they woke up in the morning or have someone demonstrate how to make a new food recipe in their kitchen while still being in the present and the comfort of their own home or office? It truly is the best of both worlds and I think the industry should capitalize on this experience for the public.

As for virtual reality, this can be used for online digital reporting and has been used by non-journalists, but could be extremely beneficial to the industry. With virtual reality, people are able to explore difference places and truly get immersed in what they are doing and where they are. This can be used for reporting because a person can be engulfed in a natural disaster such a Katrina and really get an understanding of what is happening on the ground. It is one thing for someone in New York to see the flooding that took place on the news in Dallas, but it is another thing for people to be able to wade in the water with the survivors and be able to walk into an abandoned home and empty store. This would really bring the news to life and make it more realistic for millions of people around the world. Recently, something like this was done for 9/11 by people in France and it was beneficial to new generations of people who were too young to really understand the gratitude of the event and for people that were not born yet. However, the experience had a negative effect on some people that participated in it. Some people felt that it was too real, especially people that lived through 9/11 and had first-hand experience of the devastation that it caused. They couldn’t handle an interactive virtual reenactment of what went on in the Pentagon and the Twin Towers. It to an extent traumatized them, but creators of the game did not understand prior to how such a detailed and graphic game could impact victims and their families. This is partly because they were from another country and weren’t directly impacted from the experience themselves. To them, it was probably a cool and a unique way to portray the event, but to the people that have lived through the experience they did not feel that way. If journalists could use this model not for a game, but for online use when covering anniversaries of Pearl Harbor or the killing of Osama Bin Laden they could really give people a different perspective on the event. This would also drive traffic to news sites that do not traditionally get a lot of attention from the public. In addition to that it would give the people a versatile experience and if it is too much for them they have the option to not participate or stop after a few minutes.

360 cameras are another new technology is the field. These cameras allow the user to capture images in a panorama kind of way, inclusive of a number of different angles and views. The camera gives photographers and videographers an array of different images that they would not be able to get otherwise. Journalists can use this to capture some of the world’s greatest wonders like reporting on the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls. More specifically journalists that cover travel and want to give their audience a different view than what is currently on google images can use this camera as a way to do it. With the camera, the sky, the mainland, the water and the people filming can be captured. In addition to that, all the pictures can be synced to create a cohesive set of images for different perspective viewing. This camera can truly change the way people see images and if reporters can use this during their nightly reports or online or even as snippets on social media they can enhance the viewers experience and even encourage people to take a trip. The downside to these cameras is the cost. They can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands and for media outlets to spend this amount of money on a device would be a lot. In addition to the cost, having people learn how to operate the device can also be a burden. 360 cameras are not easy to use and rendering for some of the cameras can be a nightmare, however once the cost is paid and people learn how to use them it can be a wonderful asset to reporting.

Sensors can enhance the way investigative journalists report on the news. By using sensors they have more control over props they use to get information such as robots and toy cars. These devices have cameras on them and can be controlled by the person operating it using sensors. The investigative reporting industry is in a decline and if getting information for the people could be collected in a better, easier, cheaper fashion than these sensors could revitalize the industry. Other kinds of sensors like those on digital monitors can collect data that major companies can use. However, journalists could use these monitors to collect data as well. They can collect information about the people in the region that surround the monitor. Journalists can also use the data to cater to the needs of the people such as tracking what they use the monitor for and what kind of information they are interested in when it comes to news etc. The only problem with these types of sensors is that some unsuspecting users may feel that their privacy is being invaded. Especially since they are using the monitors for one reason, but the information is being collected, distributed and used is for another purpose. The legality of this is also still in question. Despite this, sensors of all kind can benefit the media industry and the people that depend on it for their news.

In recent years, there have been a number of science fiction ideas that have come true like tablets, mixed reality and sensors. These new technologies can not only be to the benefit of the people, but also to journalists. Journalists could use these technologies to make their reporting better and like the new mediums of the past like radio and television it can enhance and increase viewership. In a time where people no longer look to journalists to get their news this could bring back some of those people that have been lost along the way. It could also bring back the credibility that has been lost in the industry over the years due to a lack of accurate reporting and notable biases. It is the job of the industry to be malleable and encompass new mediums to report the news, to inform and to an extent entertain the people. The future of the media is endless if anticipated and used wisely.

Field Test – Journalism with Drones

For my field test, I wanted to see how effectively journalists could use drones to cover news, more specifically covering large vicinities and or large regions. I explored this by using a drone to fly over west campus, specifically the dome. Using drones to get an aerial view would be most beneficial to local and national news outlets and give the audience a better understanding of what is happening. If media outlets had easier access to drones to conduct such visual reporting the quality of news coverage would increase tremendously.

To get the footage I used a camera that took video and pictures that was attached to an eleven-pound drone and flew it from a parking lot near west campus. Setting up the drone took about ten minutes and two people were needed to control it. One person was needed to control the direction of the drone and the other person was needed to control the images that were being taken. The drone took flight vertically for about eight minutes with a loud propeller sound.




The drone flew near the dome, dorms and some academic buildings it also flew near the highway and captured great images of all those locations and the grave yard. The drone reached 439 feet in the air at one point and was able to reach the heights necessary to have a great vantage point over the surrounding area and the dome. As of right now with a little photo editing the images could be used for an array of publications and coverage regarding west campus. Henceforth the project was a complete success.


Currently, some media outlets pay professional drone users to flyer over certain places to capture the images or have multi-media specialist flyer in planes to get the images they need. This can be a safety hazard and not cost efficient for an industry that doesn’t have a lot of money. Although, profitable for the professional it at times may be an enormous inconvenience for the industry. If, media outlets had easier access to drones and could fly drones at their disposal they would be able to get in-depth coverage of fires and airports (during inclement weather when planes are not flying), protest (at a high view) and large stadiums such as the dome. Especially since a videographer or photographer on the ground cannot take a full picture of the dome from any vantage point. These pictures must be taken from the air and a drone is the safest way to do so.

Thus, the pictures and video I was able to capture from flying a drone were remarkable and tremendously beneficial. If I were actually covering an event in the dome or reconstruction on the dome or anything dome related the pictures would enhance any on air, recorded, in print, digital or other multimedia piece I was doing. This would give more credibility to the outlet I work for, myself and help the people visual the situation at hand.

It is the hope that in the future drones can be widely used in said way to advance journalism coverage. In order for this to happen the regulation of drones needs to be easier for the media to have access to. Also, the cost of drones (although cheaper than getting a plane) needs to come down. In addition to this, training for people using the drones needs to increase. However, if all these things are done then consumers of news will have a new way to view the world and the messages that journalists are conveying.

A special thank you to Kyle for taking the drone out with his team and flyer it with me.


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Assignment #5


The SparkFun RedBot Sensor – Wheel Encoder could potentially help investigative journalists significantly when they are out in the field reporting. At times,investigative reporting may take some maneuvering mentally and physically, with the Wheel Encoder sensor at least the physical aspect could get easier.

The Sensor works by detecting the movement of the wheels so that the operator can know where the robot is. This is done through the movement of small teeth that is connected to a motor, which is reflected off of infrared light, according to By measuring the light, the operator can tell how far away the robot is and how fast the wheels on the robot are turning. Wires on the robot connected back to the robot chassis is how this information is shared to the user.

These robots can have cameras or video recorders on them and can be sent inside a building, office, parking lot or facility to get information that journalists would not be able to get otherwise, a sort of candid camera approach. An easier operation of the robots and being able to track them more efficiently will help shed light on people, organizations, and companies that may not always be doing the right thing. Thus, when on these investigative searches it is imperative to know where the robot is at all times as to not alert someone or get caught. By using this it can make investigative reporting more efficient and really give the journalist and the people a more in-depth truth about the issue at hand.


Assignment 4

In the future, if drones are more widely permitted. I think that media outlets will use drones to help accurately report the news. Especially breaking news such as fires and high-speed chases. Other media outlets such as ones for entertainment may use drones to catch celebrities in compromising situations or in ways that they would not be able to catch them if they just had a videographer with a camera. This can increase the sensationalism around celebrities and help the tabloid industry immensely and extend the 24-hour media cycle. Good for them and the fans, but bad for the rich and famous who are seeking privacy.

Overall, if used ethically, I think that drones can be good for the industry. However, if used with no code of ethics than it could create distrust between the people and journalists. If abused, it can lead to a severe invasion of privacy and a number of lawsuits.

Assignment # 2 Olivia Johnson

HoloLens was a dual reality experience. When I used HoloLens it was as if I was still participating in the “real word,” but I was also engulfed in the augmented world.

I like the HoloLens and how it could possibly be used in such fields as in mechanics, engineering, science etc., according to their website. Microsoft is in a sense making life easier with this sort of mixed reality. For creators the fact that you can create something and see it directly in front of you is amazing in a sort of 3D way. This could increase their accuracy and productivity by the hundreds.

As for me as a journalist, this could be beneficial when doing layout for in print papers. To actually see the content on the page and be able to alter it that way would be extremely beneficial to the newspaper world. This would save a lot of time for the copy editors and layout people. It would also increase the quality of the product for the reader. It could also rejuvenate the print industry so we are no longer “dying.”

One of the majors problems I saw with the HoloLens was its operating features. To me pinching the air is not a feasible way to use the internet or play a game. Neither is doing a Hip-Hop dance move to open the internet. If HoloLens were to make the usability of the product similar to everyday tablet use where you can touch the augmented screen etc. then the product would be more realistic and an easier interface/interaction.

Overall, I thought the product was really unique and cool. I could see myself using it in the future. As for widespread use I think it would need to be further developed before we see everyone with one like a tablet or cellphone.


Assignment #1

Throughout the years, I have observed in a number of science fiction movies the idea of living on another planet and or the moon. Most recently, I heard that there was a sign up for people to start a community on the moon, under the condition that they had to stay forever. I am not sure how true that rumor was, but if so I believe that it is a wild phenomenon that will change the way we think of space forever. I know personally I would never sign up or condone anyone signing up because it is permanent. Other reports are saying that it will be possible in the next ten years, which is scarily close to no longer fiction, but reality.

Of most interest to me are drones and the heights and depth they can reach and see. I would love to actually be able to use one to surveillance the campus, even if it is just a small part of the campus for my project.