5 takeaways from Using Physical Space for Storytelling

Kristen Kornbluth (@kornbIuth), a volunteer with the ONA Resource Team, compiled these key moments from the ONA20 session on Oct. 14, 2020. To view a recording of the session, register for on-demand access to the ONA20 archive. Session participants included:

5 key takeaways:

  1. Not everything needs to be in augmented reality (AR) to be spatial storytelling. Spatial storytelling involves engaging the user inside a mediated environment — the story takes place in a certain place or time designed by the author (with words, or with technology). In that vein, immersive storytelling spaces extend beyond just what someone sees, making the reader feel as if they’re a part of that story.
  2. Physical storytelling — putting people in a certain place or time relevant to the story — can help people feel more connected to each other, especially during this time. It can help people redefine their spaces.
  3. AR/VR allow you to take digital reality and pull it out of the screen and into the physical experience, providing new story opportunities.
  4. AR and VR aren’t the same! AR = overlays/added digital elements to the real world, VR = immersive virtual experience.
  5. You don’t need to be at a big organization to start working in physical space. Resources are widely available. (One example: Snapchat lenses.)
  6. Overall, physical storytelling is a solid way for journalists to help readers visualize and truly feel a story’s meaning and weight.

Memorable/tweetable quotes:

  • “I think the tech is great. I just don’t want to always be defined by what the tech can offer, because there’s so much we can offer ourselves just within our own spaces within our own bodies and within what we have at our fingertips.” —Michaela Ternasky-Holland
  • “The digital reality exists in many different forms … AR and VR allow you to take the digital reality and pull it out of the screen and into the physical experience, whether you’re in a headset looking around, or you’re on your phone walking around looking at the digital assets.” —Michaela Ternasky-Holland
  • “[COVID] is one of the few times when every reporter is kind of living their story, all the time.” —Karthik Patanjali

Links to additional resources