What can publishers do to try to prevent public concern around the ethics of virtual reality?

Virtual reality is an exciting and innovative development which has huge potential. It creates a whole new dimension for journalism, offering a powerful form of immersive storytelling.  It has the ability to place viewers on the scene of an event, not only transporting them to another place and time but seeing it from the inside and engaging them emotionally. Unfortunately, the power of virtual reality as an ’empathy tool’  also means that it can be used in a negative capacity.

Catherine Allen in an article for journalism.co.uk explains that the hype around virtual reality is  increasing public concern which could lead to “moral panic”. There is little known about the lasting effects of virtual reality. Not much research has been done, especially in the long-term as it has not been around long enough. It is this fear of the unknown, coupled with negative media coverage that could lead to virtual reality being seen as a threat.

There is no strict written ethical code regarding virtual reality. A first code was developed by two German philosophers which focuses on the psychological effects of engaging in virtual reality. Making it clear that subjects taking part in experiments using virtual reality should be informed about the risks involved. The extent to which behaviour can be influenced is unknown. These warnings should also be put in to place in relation to the use of virtual reality within the media. Publishers should inform the audience of the risks involved. If the footage is based on sensitive issues, contains upsetting or flashing images then prior warning should be given.

The areas which give rise to the most concern are those involving sex, pornography and violence. There are ethical issues relating to human behaviour and motivations. For example desensitisation, virtual criminality and the potential to lose sense of right and wrong. Over half of adults who were questioned about virtual reality expressed a fear of becoming addicted and of how it will affect their real-world behaviour. Publishers need to be aware of these fears and must connect with their audience in order to allay them.

In order to achieve this publishers need to involve the public every step of the way. Before, during and after creation. Ideas need to be tested early on with an audience to see their response. To see how it sits with them, to listen to their views and opinions in order to make adjustments accordingly. Continuous feedback is needed throughout testing and also when the stories are out there and finalised. Consumers then need a channel to vent their feelings, a space to voice their opinions.

There will always be those who are critical and sceptical about virtual reality. However, as virtual reality moves towards the mainstream, publishers need to address these fears. As Catherine Allen explains, “The industry is what we make it, and consumer perceptions are still being shaped.” Publishers, therefore, have the responsibility of chosing and presenting content which crafts an honest user experience. This must be based on a firm foundation of traditional journalistic ethics.



Scott, C. (2017). 5 key considerations for ethical virtual reality storytelling. [online] Journalism.co.uk. Available at: https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/5-key-considerations-for-ethical-virtual-reality-storytelling/s2/a684394/

Scott, C. (2017). Why moral panic could be detrimental to the virtual reality industry. [online] Journalism.co.uk. Available at: https://www.journalism.co.uk/news/why-publishers-of-virtual-reality-need-to-be-aware-of-moral-panic/s2/a702215/

Scott, C. (2017). Podcast available at: https://www.journalism.co.uk/podcast/why-publishers-should-take-measures-to-prevent-a-moral-panic-over-virtual-reality/s399/a702517/

Panetta, F. (2016). The Guardian and virtual reality. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/membership/2016/oct/04/the-guardian-and-virtual-reality



I have decided to take time out of my work on the Photoshop project to reflect on the process so far. Having spent the weekend on both my  laptop and PC trying to create a logo and professional brand I am now tearing my hair out.

I no longer know what works and what doesn’t because everything has become a big blue blur.

Blue was the colour I chose to prioritise for my design. It is associated with peace, representing calmness and serenity. Blue is the sky and ocean which are constant, it creates a sense of security. In business terms it is a safe colour to use because most people like some shade of blue and there are a lot of well known brands choosing blue as their primary colour.

I struggled with this project from the beginning as I am finding it hard to identify myself professionally. I have done a lot of research and seen some amazing business card examples and original ideas. However, I came to the conclusion that for me it is best to keep things simple. To gain knowledge using Photoshop to the best of my abilities. It is important for me to learn the basics on which I can build. Unfortunately, it takes me some time to grasp.

I was not happy with the original designs and logo I created. It was far too bold and clumsy and I felt it did nothing to reflect my personality. I experimented with creating a logo from scratch but the process seemed pointless as at the moment I will only be marketing my name as a brand.

Reflection on completion of the project

Having managed to complete this project I am still not satisfied with the end results. I thought about changing the colour scheme again as the shades I chose now appear to have a stronger green hue. The final design is most definitely not the finished product. I will be constantly updating my personal branding in keeping with the skills I learn and the direction I decide to take.

In retrospect this project has been an important learning experience. It has certainly helped me to broaden my understanding of Photoshop. This project has also been extremely useful in challenging me to look at myself and reflect on the professional image I want to portray. It has made me realise that in order to succeed in a media related environment I need to embrace the technology and accept that it is an extremely competitive industry.



Research and Initial Ideas for Photoshop Project

I started the project by looking at business card examples. I found some great ideas on Pinterest and mashable.com but they didn’t really suit my purpose. I decided that from a journalistic point of view a minimalistic approach was better suited. This would also be more representative of my personality.

These are a few simple designs that I liked:

business card ideas

There are so many designs out there that I got a bit bogged down and I finally realised that for this to be my own personal branding I needed to create something from scratch.


I had no idea where to start in designing a logo so I messed about with Adobe Illustrator with little success.

crap logo

I looked at other brand logos with the initials SAB.

Screenshot (11)

I then worked on a logo using my initials, separating the individual letters in layers so that I could modify them in Adobe Illustrator to then use in Photoshop. My limited knowledge of both programmes meant that it was a laborious process which involved a lot of YouTube tutorials and learning by trial and error.

I eventually came up with the following:

Illustrator layers



I experimented with the fonts that were available on Photoshop but, despite the extensive range, I didn’t find one that I liked. I eventually narrowed it down to 3 fonts that I downloaded from Behance; Coco Gothic, Aqua Grotesque and Coves. They all appear to be very similar but look quite different depending on the font style.



I chose Coves Bold for both the logo and lettering throughout to create uniformity.

For the colours my obvious choice were shades of blue as this is my favourite colour. I also took into consideration the psychology of colours and that “ Blue is the most universally favored color of all and therefore the safest to use. It relates to trust, honesty and dependability, therefore helping to build customer loyalty.” (taken from http://www.empower-yourself-with-color-psychology.com/blue-in-business.html)

Screenshot (12)


The creative process continued when using my designs for a business card, Facebook page and letterhead.

This was my initial business card design but I decided that it did not look at all professional and would probably be more suited to a children’s story writer.

I took inspiration from Saudi Alliance Brokers when thinking about creating a branding presence with fluidity and consitency.

conpany brandingSAB logo

I used identical fonts and colour themes for all aspects of my personal branding. The logos I used for my contact details are similar on both my business card and letter footer.

Back of business card logosLetter copy

I adapted the design slighty to fit in to a banner for my Facebook page but the theme remains the same.

FB banner


Evaluation for Mojo

I chose to write about the smoking ban in Hull and East Riding Hospitals, namely Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill. It was an interesting story as it has caused a lot of controversy. I visited both sites to try to get some film and interviews. This proved to be a lot more difficult than I expected. People were not happy about being recorded or filmed.

Outside the entrance to Castle Hill, but still within the grounds, I managed to interview an elderly lady who had come out for a smoke. The quality of the recording wasn’t very good as we were standing in the rain. However, I think the recording adds to the story because it illustrates how people are ignoring the ban and also shows conflicting views.

The short film footage that I managed to take on my mobile phone was an important lesson for me. I was approached by one of the security guards and asked to stop filming. What was even more interesting was that he asked me to leave before he approached the people who were smoking.

I was not sure if I would be able to show this footage so I blurred out the faces to avoid any problems. Also I feel that it adds some irony to the article as the people I filmed smoking were mainly staff.

The article could be used for a local website such as the Hull Daily Mail because of the location. Although a link I added is a general NHS guidance addressing all UK NHS Trusts. Comments taken from Facebook were also aimed at other hospitals so this story would have a wider appeal. The audience demographic is also very wide-ranging as it is an issue that affects so many; both smokers, non-smokers, staff, patients, visitors, old and young alike.



Evaluation for Immersive Journalism

I enjoyed both of the assignments for Immersive Journalism because they allowed me to be more creative and to produce work that is more representative of myself. I did, however, find both Thinglink and Shorthand Social to be limited tools for different reasons. Perhaps, the free versions do not allow as many options or possibilities to make the final product truly immersive.


For my Thinglink piece I chose to present some of the attractions of Hull as the City of Culture 2017.  I wanted to produce a piece which would convey just a small part of the action. I decided to look at it from a different angle as I am  privileged to be one of the many volunteers. The idea of the purple rucksack was to give a glimpse of how the volunteers are experiencing this year’s events. I liked the idea of the rucksack being part of the volunteers uniform but also instrumental in showcasing Hull in far away places.

Every volunteer was given a rucksack as part of their uniform but with over 4000 volunteers we were advised to personalise our own. I started to look at some of the original and funky ways people had decorated their backpacks and took photos. The one I chose provided a great example to use for Thinglink, the badges being an obvious choice as pins.

Thinglink is a fairly straight forward to use but I spent a lot of time on this piece. I enjoyed it because I also needed to use the skills I had learnt in photography, video and design. The only thing I found limiting was that individual photos or text cannot be added on the free version. This makes it more difficult to convey the story.

Shorthand Social

I had many different ideas for this assignment as we were given the freedom to choose the subject. It was not difficult to find something to write about. Shorthand Social was a great tool to use to showcase one of the most beautiful places to visit in my home town, Hornsea Mere.

I enjoyed doing the work because it was a learning experience of discovery.  We often do not appreciate what we have on our own doorstep. I took the time to visit Hornsea Mere, to take photos at different times of the day and to reasearch some of the history. In some ways there was too much information to include in one piece. I should maybe have focused on just a few of the attractions.

In order to make the experience more immersive for both myself and the viewer I went for a trial sail at the Hornsea Sailing Club open day. However, it was a fairly windy day and it proved too difficult to film whilst dealing with the ropes and boom of the boat. I also had problems filming the car rally as it was dreadful weather and the turnout was poor.

I found Shorthand Social to be frustrating at times and quite time-consuming. If you want to change the order there is no copy and paste option so you basically have to start over. You can’t alter the fonts or colours either and there is no spelling or grammar check. Overall though I think the visual aspects of my finished piece work well and that it is a good representation of Hornsea Mere.