Two Types of Virtual News: Reuters and Fox

Reuters is opening a virtual news bureau. Perhaps the best way to understand this is that they will be a mirror image of Fox News. While Fox News reports imaginary news about the real world, Reuters will be reporting real news about an imaginary world:

Starting on Wednesday, Reuters plans to begin publishing text, photo and video news from the outside world for Second Life members and news of Second Life for real world readers who visit a Reuters news site at: http://secondlife.reuters.com/

Created by Linden Lab in San Francisco, Second Life is the closest thing to a parallel universe existing on the Internet. Akin to the original city-building game SimCity, Second Life is a virtual, three-dimensional world where users create and dress up characters, buy property and interact with other players.

More than 900,000 users have signed up to build homes, form neighborhoods and live out alternative versions of their lives in the 3D, computer-generated world. Players spend around US$350,000 a day on average, or a rate of $130 million a year. Usage is growing in rapid double-digit terms each month.

The New York Times describes the job of bureau chief Adam Pasick as being similar to that of other reporters:

“The fact that it’s in a virtual world doesn’t change things as much as you’d think,” said Mr. Pasick, 30, a Michigan native based in London. “It’s not any different than when Reuters opens up a bureau in a part of the world that has a fast-growing economy that we weren’t in before. The laws of supply and demand hold true, it has a currency exchange, people open businesses and get paid for goods and services.”

Mr. Pasick’s avatar, Adam Reuters, was modeled after the reporter, and sports a press pass so others know he buys his pixels by the barrel. He will set up shop in a virtual building made to look like a hybrid of Reuters’ London and Times Square buildings.

While players who drop in (flying is one of only a few superhuman aspects of Second Life) can access Reuters news from the real world, the articles Mr. Pasick files will be strictly about — and addressed to — Second World players. One of his first examines Second Life’s biggest lender, who charges 40 percent annual interest. His dispatches will be posted at secondlife.reuters.com.

Perhaps Fox News could create a virtual world to match their reporting. In their virtual world they could program in WMD in Iraq and there really would be an intelligent designer.

As an example of the non-real world the right wing lives in, check out the report on this story at Ed Driscoll.com. They use the recent episode in which a free lancer for Reuters altered photographs. As Reuters fired the free lancer, this hardly provides evidence of their fantasy that the mainstream media is conspiring to distort the news whenever they don’t report in the manner of the Fox News virtual fantasy world.

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