Life, Augmented Reality and Journalism: my Fellowship at Stanford so far
It’s been a while since I landed at Stanford for my Knight Fellowship without taking the time to update you on what I’m doing here, especially in relation to my project that has now turned into how to marry augmented reality and journalism.
But I guess I’m going to start with a couple of random impressions about my new life here at Stanford.
- Believe it or not, I’m enjoying the suburban life, especially the wonderful nature around Palo Alto (Yosemite Park, Foothills Park and so on) and the wonderful neighborhood we live into.
- The weather is great. For two months we didn’t see a drop of rain. I must say I don’t miss Paris from this point of view.
- I adore the puzzle of all the 20 fellows‘ cultures (Pakistan, Nepal, Uganda, Brazil, Armenia…) and personalities and how they perfectly match together. And I’m not just referring to our first potluck (which was de-li-ci-ous).
- My neurons are being constantly excited by Stanford’s inspiring intellectual environment both thanks to classes I’m attending (such as Managing Growing Enterprises, Strategic Management of Technology and Innovation, Introduction to Human-Computer Interaction Design, The Frinky Science of Human Mind and — yes — Golf) and other amazing venues I’ve been generously hosted in (Hacks/Hackers, The Institute for the Future, Gene Becker’s Ubistudio and of course the fellowship itself with its amazing roster of speakers such as Mike Liebhold or Tina Seelig).
I want to thank all the people who are sharing with me a bit of their lives, their insights and their feelings… I really appreciate.
Last but no least, I decided to change my project orientation. As you probably know, since one year, sadly the Knight Fellowship ‘sabbatical’ shape is almost over. This means fellows have now less time for BBQ and hanging out (well, not completely to be honest) and are asked to devote to one tangible project to help journalism to be more entrepreneurial and innovative.
My initial idea (I had crowdsourced here earlier this year) has now changed. I thought that studying how to stimulate the emergence of next generation European news entrepreneurs would have turned out to be too theoretical. While I’m still committed to that task, I believe I can serve it more with concrete projects.
And here we come to Augmented Reality and Journalism.
picture by doc18 (Flickr)
Available on many devices like Iphones or Android phones, Augmented Reality technologies let you have a view of the real world environment augmented by digital layers of information. A.R. is simply magical and while it’s still embryonary, its applications can be disruptive.
My guess is that journalism and A.R. can be very useful to each other and, at the end, their combination can help the users to enhance their information experience.
How can journalism (and journalists) improve an A.R. information experience?
Journalists are known to have this kind of values they don’t always pursue but that are still actual
- the accuracy in choosing the right sources of information
- the fact-checking habits
- the ability to chose an editorial angle in order to make the information experience clearer to the user
- the ability to prioritize different layers of information
- the transparency and deontology to build trust with the user
- the ability to curate information by selecting multiple types of content
- the fact of being open to engage the audience in the conversation
My point here is that while the traditional business model of journalism is certainly in trouble, its principles are still helpful to whoever today wants to produce a satisfactory information experience.
On the other hand, what can journalism learn from Augmented Reality?
- A.R. can become a powerful way to maximize the way stories are created
- A.R. can be the first technological wave where journalism won’t just lag behind because there’s still time to innovate and lead
- A.R. can represent an interesting business model and an additional revenue stream if the industry is able to position itself soon.
So what are going to be the “tangible results” the Fellowship is asking me to produce? I have a couple of ideas that I will share with you soon. Stay tuned!