Just as CNN asks its real-life audience to submit I-Reports — user-generated content submitted from cell phones, computers, cameras and other equipment for broadcast and online reports — the network is encouraging residents of Second Life to share their own “SL I-Reports” about events occurring within the virtual world.”The thing we most hope to gain by having a CNN presence in Second Life is to learn about virtual worlds and understand what news is most interesting and valuable to their residents,” said Susan Grant, executive vice president of CNN News Services.
There are a number of interesting questions that crop up for reflection. Do real world standards of journalism apply in publications such as The Metaverse Messenger? Are consumers of The Metaverse Messenger rising even as subscribers to newspapers decline? In the future, can we envision communities who may be more interested in news of online / virtual events more than real world issues? How do media such as The Metaverse Messenger fit into the social / new / community media paradigm? If the year-on-year exponential growth in MMORPG’s continues, the millions of those who inhabit the worlds of these games may create media that is only understood by fellow inhabitants – using new media (podcasts, blogs, mobile content etc) to communicate issues that may only exist online?
But most importantly, how is the media industry going to address the challenges of audience fragmentation between real and virtual worlds?Reading through The Metaverse Messenger is an eye-opener. This is not some school magazine trying to look and sound like a mainstream newspaper, this is actually news of worlds, lives, issues, events and business that exists in virtual domains today.If the future of media is to be explored, publications such as The Metaverse Messenger and indeed, the plethora of new media on MMORPG’s and the lives of those who treat them as seriously as real life need to be examined in far greater detail.
Second Life journalism – hype or a harbinger of things to come?