VR offers new tools to war journalists hoping to reach audiences: thesis

Reham El-Adawi , Sunday 26 Nov 2023

Mohamed Ashraf Badr, researcher at Al Ahram Canadian University, argues that virtual reality (VR) is a promising new technology for journalists covering wars, offering audiences an immersive experience that enables them to vividly sense the horrors of war.

Researcher Mohamed Ashraf Badr, in the middle, with members of the discussion committee


Ashraf made this argument in his thesis, the first of its kind in Egypt, "Impact of Virtual Reality Journalism on Egyptian News Websites Covering War," which he wrote while earning a distinguished master’s degree from Al-Ahram Canadian University.

The thesis investigates how VR journalism affects audience emotions, especially fear, when encountering war-related content on Egyptian news websites.

Explaining the rationale behind the topic, Ashraf emphasized that the emerging paradigm of immersive journalism has the potential to reshape the landscape of Egyptian journalism, especially on digital platforms.

His findings are a crucial resource for journalists and media aiming to cover war and other conflict.

Ashraf suggested that while VR technology can evoke fear and panic among viewers, its optimal application lies in how it can artistically present news content.

The thesis stressed the immense impact of this technology, which relies on a three-dimensional interactive environment equipped with advanced audiovisual capabilities. It highlighted how this immersive experience brings users closer to reality, enabling them to vividly sense the horrors of war, including missile launches, building demolitions, and civilian casualties.

President of Al-Ahram Canadian University Professor Siddek Abdel-Salam attended the thesis discussion committee, which comprised professors from the university’s journalism and communication faculties, and expressed admiration for the subject matter.

He lauded the supervision team and committee members for their contributions and urged the researcher to continue documenting Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza, emphasizing the necessity of examining the violence inflicted on innocent civilians.

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