Spatial audio and immersive journalism: production, narrative design, and sense of presence



Palabras clave:

Immersive journalism, Immersive storytelling, Audio storytelling, Narrative, Binaural sound, Spatial audio, Emotional turn, Journalism, Cinematic radio, Audio documentary, Audio communication


This article presents the findings from an experimental study on the use of binaural audio in two long-form journalistic features broadcast on Portuguese radio. From a production and narrative design perspective, our objective is to examine whether/how binaural audio implies a transformation of previously established news radio production work principles and practices, as well as of storytelling ideation and techniques. From a user experience viewpoint, we examine whether the use of binaural audio translates into higher levels of self-reported immersion and place illusion (n = 77). Despite the spread of new audio journalism formats, media and communication studies have until now largely neglected the role of spatial audio in the construction of immersion and the illusion of place. We argue that this epistemic omission translates into an image-centric conception and operationalization of the immersive journalism proposal, which stands out as a knowledge gap regarding the work of journalistic storytellers and relating to participants’ actual experience. The original contribution of this article is threefold: (1) conceptual, by broadening the perspective of journalism studies’ scholars and media professionals on the concept of immersive journalism, which, in our view, is often incorrectly considered to be synonymous with that of virtual reality journalism; (2) practical, by generating a more nuanced understanding of how actual practitioners perceive and employ immersive journalism; (3) phenomenological, by developing an examination of the factors that influence listeners’ ultimate perception of the immersive experience.


Aitamurto, Tanja (2019). “Normative paradoxes in 360° journalism: contested accuracy and objectivity”. New media & society, v. 21, n. 1, pp. 3-19.

Archer, Dan; Finger, Katharina (2018). Walking in another’s virtual shoes: do 360-degree video news stories generate empathy in viewers?. Columbia Journalism School: Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

Aveyard, Karina; Moran, Albert (2013) “Introduction: sound media, sound cultures”. Media international Australia, v. 148, n. 1, pp. 79-83.

Bal, Mieke (1985). Narratology: introduction to the theory of narrative. University of Toronto Press. ISBN: 1442628340

Berger, Peter-Ludwig; Luckmann, Thomas (1967). The social construction of reality: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge. New York: Anchor Books. ISBN: 978 0 385058988

Bird, S. Elizabeth; Dardenne, Robert W. (1988). “Myth, chronicle, and story: exploring the narrative qualities of news”. In: Carey, James W. (ed.). Media, myths, and narratives: television and the press. Beverly Hills: SAGE Publications, pp. 67-87. ISBN: 0803930488

Bird, S. Elizabeth; Dardenne, Robert W. (2009). “Rethinking news and myth as storytelling”. In: Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin; Hanitzsch, Thomas (eds.). The handbook of journalism studies. New York: Routledge. ISBN:‎ 0805863435

Clifford, Katrina; White, Rob (2020). “Mediated representations of prisoner experience and public empathy”. In: Harmes, Marcus; Harmes, Meredith; Harmes, Barbara (eds.). The Palgrave handbook of incarceration in popular culture. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 265-287. ISBN: 978 3 030 36059 7

De-la-Peña, Nonny; Weil, Peggy; Llobera, Joan; Giannopoulos, Elias; Pomés, Ausiàs; Spaniang, Bernhard; Friedman, Doron; Sánchez-Vives, María V.; Slater, Mel (2010). “Immersive journalism: immersive virtual reality for the first-person experience of news”. Presence: teleoperators and virtual environments, v. 19, n. 4, pp. 291-301.

Domínguez, Eva (2013). Periodismo inmersivo: la influencia de la realidad virtual y del videojuego en los contenidos informativos. Barcelona: UOC. ISBN: 8490297762

Dowling, David O.; Miller, Kyle J. (2019) “Immersive audio storytelling: podcasting and serial documentary in the digital publishing industry”. Journal of radio & audio media, v. 26, n. 1, pp. 167-184.

Edmond, Maura (2015). “All platforms considered: contemporary radio and transmedia engagement”. New media & society, v. 17, n. 9, pp. 1566-1582.

Engberg, Maria; Bolter, Jay-David (2020). “The aesthetics of reality media”. Journal of visual culture, v. 19, n. 1, pp. 81-95.

Ferjoux, Céline; Dupont, Émile-Ropert (2020). “Journalisme immersif et empathie: l’émotion comme connaissance immédiate du reel”. Communiquer. Revue de communication sociale et publique, n. 28, pp. 73-99.

Gallagher, Michael (2015). “Field recording and the sounding of spaces”. Environment and planning D: society and space, v. 33, n. 3, pp. 560-576.

Gerrig, Richard (1993). Experiencing narrative worlds: on the psychological activities of reading. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN: 0300054343

Godulla, Alexander; Planer, Rosanna; Wolf, Cornelia; Lück, Annika; Vaaßen, Fiona (2021). “An immersive journey through flawed technology: users’ perceptions of VR in journalism”. Journalism and media, v. 2, n. 3.

Gorini, Alessandra; Capideville, Claret S.; De-Leo, Gianluca; Mantovani, Fabrizia; Riva, Giuseppe (2010). “The role of immersion and narrative in mediated presence: the virtual hospital experience”. Cyberpsychology, behavior, and social networking, v. 14, n. 3, pp. 99-105.

Goutier, Nele; De-Haan, Yael; De-Bruin, Kiki; Lecheler, Sophie; Kruikemeier, Sanne (2021). “From ‘cool observer’ to ‘emotional participant’: the practice of immersive journalism”. Journalism studies, v. 22, n. 12, pp. 1648-1664.

Green, Melanie C.; Brock, Timothy C. (2000). “The role of transportation in the persuasiveness of public narratives”. Journal of personality and social psychology, v. 79, n. 5, pp. 701-721.

Hassan, Robert (2020). “Digitality, virtual reality and the ‘empathy machine’”. Digital journalism, v. 8, n. 2, pp. 195-212.

Hendriks-Vettehen, Paul; Wiltink, Daan; Huiskamp, Maite; Schaap, Gabi; Ketelaar, Paul (2019). “Taking the full view: how viewers respond to 360-degree video news”. Computers in human behavior, n. 91, pp. 24-32.

Herman, David (2009). Basic elements of narrative. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978 1 405141543

Ijsselsteijn, Wijnand; Riva, Giuseppe (2003) “Being there: the experience of presence in mediated environments”. In: Riva, Giuseppe; Davide, Fabrizio; Ijsselsteijn, Wijnand (eds.). Being there: concepts, effects and measurement of user presence in synthetic environments. Amsterdam: IOS Press. ISBN: 1586033018

Jenkins, Kerinne; Murphy, Stephen; Thomas, Penelope (2018). Precipice: an AFTRS applied innovation project. Australian film television and radio school.

Kool, Hollis (2016). “The ethics of immersive journalism: a rethorical analysis of news storytelling with virtual reality technology”. Intersect, v. 9, n. 3.

Kukkakorpi, Mariia; Pantti, Mervi (2021). “A sense of place: VR journalism and emotional engagement”. Journalism practice, v. 15, n. 6, pp. 785-802.

Laarni, Jari; Ravaja, Niklas; Saari, Timo; Böcking, Saskia; Hartmann, Tilo; Schramm, Holger (2015). “Ways to measure spatial presence: review and future directions”. In: Lombard, Matthew; Biocca, Frank; Freeman, Jonathan; IJsselsteijn, Wijnand; Schaevitz, Rachel J. (eds). Immersed in media: telepresence theory, measurement & technology. Cham: Springer International Publishing, pp. 139-185. ISBN: 978 3 319 10190 3

LaRocco, Michael (2020). “Developing the ‘best practices’ of virtual reality design: industry standards at the frontier of emerging media”. Journal of visual culture, v. 19, n. 1, pp. 96-111.

Lecheler, Sophie (2020). “The emotional turn in journalism needs to be about audience perceptions”. Digital journalism, v. 8, n. 2, pp. 287-291.

Marconi, Francesco; Nakagawa, Taylor (2017). The age of dynamic storytelling: a guide for journalists in a world of immersive 3-D content. Associated Press.

Martínez, M. Ángeles (2014). “Storyworld possible selves and the phenomenon of narrative immersion: testing a new theoretical construct”. Narrative, v. 22, n. 1, pp. 110-131.

Milk, Chris (2015). “How virtual reality can create the ultimate empathy machine”. TED2015.

Murray, Janet H. (2020). “Virtual/reality: how to tell the difference”. Journal of visual culture, v. 19, n. 1, pp. 11-27.

Nash, Kate (2018). “Virtual reality witness: exploring the ethics of mediated presence”. Studies in documentary film, v. 12, n. 2, pp. 119-131.

Nilsson, Niels-Christian; Nordahl, Rolf; Serafin, Stefania (2016). “Immersion revisited: a review of existing definitions of immersion and their relation to different theories of presence”. Human technology, v. 12, n. 2, pp. 108-134.

Pérez-Seijo, Sara (2017) “Immersive journalism: from audience to first-person experience of news”. In: Campos, Francisco; Rúas, Xosé; Martínez, Valentín-Alejandro (eds.). Media and metamedia management. Cham: Springer, pp. 113-119. ISBN: 978 3 319 46068 0

Pérez-Seijo, Sara; Vicente, Paulo-Nuno (2022). “After the hype: how hi-tech is reshaping journalism”. In: Vázquez-Herrero, Jorge; Silva-Rodríguez, Alba; Negreira-Rey, Cruz; Toural-Bran, Carlos; López-García, Xosé (eds.). Total journalism: models, techniques and challenges. Cham: Springer, pp. 41-52. ISBN: 3030880273

Revill, George (2016). “How is space made in sound? Spatial mediation, critical phenomenology and the political agency of sound”. Progress in human geography, v. 40, n. 2, pp. 240-256.

Ross, Miriam (2020). “Virtual reality’s new synesthetic possibilities”. Television & new media, v. 21, n. 3, pp. 297-314.

Ryan, Marie-Laure (2015). Narrative as virtual reality 2: revisiting immersion and interactivity in bibliografíe and electronic media. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 1421417979

Sánchez-Laws, Ana-Luisa (2020). “Can immersive journalism enhance empathy?”. Digital journalism, v. 8, n. 2, pp. 213-228.

Shin, Donghee; Biocca, Frank (2018). “Exploring immersive experience in journalism”. New media & society, v. 20, n. 8, pp. 2800-2823.

Slater, Mel (1999). “Measuring presence: a response to the Witmer and Singer presence questionnaire”. Presence: teleoperators and virtual environments, v. 8, n. 5, pp. 560-565.

Sundar, S. Shyam; Kang, Jin; Oprean, Danielle (2017). “Being there in the midst of the story: how immersive journalism affects our perceptions and cognitions”. Cyberpsychology, behavior, and social networking, v. 20, n. 11, pp. 672-682.

Tuchman, Gaye (1972). “Objectivity as strategic ritual: an examination of newmen’s notions of objectivity”. The American journal of sociology, v. 77, n. 4, pp. 660-679.

Van-Damme, Kristin; All, Anissa; De-Marez, Lieven; Van-Leuven, Sarah (2019). “360 video journalism: experimental study on the effect of immersion on news experience and distant suffering”. Journalism studies, v. 20, n. 14, pp. 2053-2076.

Van-Leeuwen, Theo (2007). “Sound and vision”. Visual communication, v. 6, n. 2, pp. 136-145.

Vicente, Paulo-Nuno (2018). “Ledes and story structures”. In: Vos, Tim P.; Hanusch, Foljer (eds.). The international encyclopedia of journalism studies. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 1118841670

Vicente, Paulo-Nuno (2020). “Interactive media”. In: Merskin, Debra L. (ed.). The SAGE international encyclopedia of mass media and society. California: SAGE Publications. ISBN: 1483375536

Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin (2020). “An emotional turn in journalism studies?”. Digital journalism, v. 8, n. 2, pp. 175-194.

Wake, Alexandra; Bahfen, Nasya (2016). “Redefining radio: implications for journalism education in an era of digital audio storytelling”. Radio journal: international studies in broadcast & audio media, v. 14, n. 2, pp. 231-242.

Wincott, Abigail; Martin, Jean; Richards, Ivor (2020). Spatial awareness: state of the art and future needs of spatial audio journalism. Project Report.

Wirth, Werner; Hartmann, Tilo; Böcking, Saskia; Vorderer, Peter; Klimmt, Christoph; Schramm, Holger; Laarni, Jari; Ravaja, Niklas; Gouveia, Feliz R.; Biocca, F.; Sacau, A.; Jäncke, Lutz; Baumgartner, Thomas; Jäncke, Petra (2007). “A process model of the formation of spatial presence experiences”. Media psychology, v. 9, n. 3, pp. 493-525.

Witmer, Bob G.; Singer, Michael J. (1998). “Measuring presence in virtual environments: a presence questionnaire”. Presence: teleoperators and virtual environments, v. 7, n. 3, pp. 225-240.



Cómo citar

Vicente, P.-N., & Pérez-Seijo, S. (2022). Spatial audio and immersive journalism: production, narrative design, and sense of presence. Profesional De La información, 31(5).



Artículos de investigación / Research articles


La descarga de datos todavía no está disponible.


Cargando métricas ...