Sat, Dec 08, 2018 - Page 2 News List

VR project aims to transform reporting

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee watches a virtual reality news report by National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of Journalism at Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park yesterday.

Photo: Wu Po-hsuan, Taipei Times

The National Taiwan University (NTU) Graduate Institute of Journalism yesterday launched a Chinese-language project about offshore wind farms that uses virtual reality (VR), hoping it would be considered a technological breakthrough for news media.

On display at Taipei’s Huashan 1914 Creative Park until tomorrow, the journalism project involves a VR game that allows visitors to see what the planned wind turbines would look like off the nation’s shores, and view news reports exploring their potential effect on fishing activities and marine creatures, especially Taiwanese humpback dolphins, which are sensitive to noise.

The Cabinet aims to have offshore wind farms supply 5.5 gigawatts of power as part of its plan to have 20 percent of the nation’s electricity generated from renewable energy by 2025

The institute chose offshore wind farms as the first subject for its project, because they are vital to transforming the nation’s energy supply and are visually appealing, Caroline Lin (林照真), a professor at the institute, told a news conference.

The project allows visitors to approach the issue by becoming “immersed” in the game, which might help them to look at the issue from a different perspective, Lin said, adding that the institute plans to produce an English version.

As many people have lost confidence in the media, Lin said she hopes the project will change the form and content of news, enabling journalists to regain the public’s trust with more a in-depth and engaging presentation.

Working with NTU’s Science Media Center, the institute’s members spent nearly eight months collecting information about the issue and interviewing local fishers, said Huang Yen-lin (黃硯琳), an institute assistant and one of the reporters for the project.

Many fishers have raised concerns that their fishing areas might be restricted once the wind farms are built, Huang said.

Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基), who was invited to demonstrate the VR game, said he was impressed by the sight of Taiwanese humpback dolphins swimming close to him.

When an issue is reported in this way, readers might pay closer attention to it, Chen said, adding that he expects VR technology and uncrewed vehicles attached to imaging devices to transform reporting.

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