VR, Going Funny, and Ethics All Day: this week on Fresh Powder

Getting Ahead of the Game

News media is experiencing a time of dramatic change (but really, hasn’t that always been the case?) and it never hurts to get in on the newest thing before everybody else does. While others are dealing with the unruly nature of Facebook Live and other live stream video services, it might be a good time to check out VR, instead. VR and 360 vid equipment is expensive, it’s true, but prices are starting to level out and as they do, we can expect that savvy journalists are going to be using the technology to take storytelling to a new level. VR and 360 vids can turn a story into an immersive experience, and you can bet that max-exposure-minimal-effort junkies (you know, like, all of us) are going to be all over that.

Humor Me

The Washington Post is getting funny. Or, they’re planning on it. With a recent round of hiring aimed at nearly doubling the current number of staff in the video department, the Post is setting aim at satire, a la the likes of the Daily Show and others. It’s not a bad idea, and they’re going into it with open eyes and a platform specific approach: they’ll abbreviate bits for YouTube and Facebook audiences and build ads appropriate to each platform. Not a bad idea. It’s a their goal for the next three years, but who knows, maybe they’ll catch on to the VR game, too. Comedy VR, now there’s an idea.

Ethics All Day

We’re pretty much a divided nation, that much has become abundantly clear over the last couple months. But with the Women’s March on Washington last Saturday, we witnessed a different divide, one of journalistic ethics. Scores of magazines and other publications covered the event, and so did Buzzfeed, WaPo and the New York Times. The divide? Those last three didn’t allow their reporters to attend if they weren’t on assignment. It’s got to do with the appearance of objectivity, and all those other journalistic standards, but in a time where many publications are taking an unequivocal political stance, the practice is starting to feel antiquated. One thing we can be sure of? The next four years are pretty well guaranteed to offer many opportunities for publications to hone their own brand of ethics.

You Are What You Believe

We’ve all done it–– argued with someone of an opposite political belief. We try to change their mind, they try to change ours. Mostly, both parties walk away angry. Or, at the very least, passively hostile. Turns out, it could have to do with the way our brain processes political conviction: a small study done by a collection of scientists shows that our brains may process challenges to our belief systems in the same area they processes identity and negative emotions. If someone told you your sense of identity is deeply entangled with your beliefs, you’d be like, “Well, duh.” But that personal identity and political leanings might operate within the same brain space? That’s kinda cool to know.

This also happened last week: On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway said Trump’s tax returns wouldn’t be release because the American public isn’t interested, not because they are being audited. On Monday, she said we would see Trump’s tax returns, when they are done being audited. It’s ok if you’re feeling dizzy and a touch of whiplash. We are too. But maybe we won’t have to worry about any of that anymore, because he’s here: the political satirist that will save America.