MDC Research seminar by Dr Emma Graves – Thursday 26th May 2022 14:00 UK

Media Coverage of Extended Reality Technologies: The Blurred Boundary Between News and Promotional Discourse

The news media have significant power to impact public opinion of emerging technologies because they are often the general public’s first and main source of information about such innovations (Scheufele and Lewenstein, 2005; Sun et al., 2020). As the perceptions of new technologies are key to their success or failure (Buenaflor and Kim, 2013), the news media can have an impact not only on how these products are viewed but also on their adoption and diffusion (Rogers, 2003). When extended reality technologies (XR; encompassing virtual, augmented and mixed reality devices) for general consumer use were introduced in 2012-2016, anecdotal evidence suggested that the news media were strongly positive about them. Moreover, several studies uncovered a blurring of boundaries between promotional material and news discourse (e.g. Chyi and Lee, 2018; Erjavec, 2004; Harro-Loit and Saks, 2006). To examine whether this was the case in XR news coverage, my PhD study applied a multimodal, mixed methods framing analysis to the news and marketing of XR devices. This seminar discusses the study’s findings, providing insight into how XR is represented, the overlap between XR news and marketing and the power of technology companies to shape this news discourse.


Dr Emma Kaylee Gravesis a Lecturer in Media and Communications at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU). She completed her PhD in Media and Cultural Studies in 2021, which analysed the news and marketing of extended reality technologies. In addition, Emma has an MA by Research in Media, Art and Design and a First Class BA in Digital Media and Media and Communications. Her research interests include media representations, marketization of news media, videogames (particularly genderisation, player collaboration and the use of gaming paratexts) and online communication strategies. Emma is a former Chair of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network and is currently involved in the Hi3 Network and the Communities and Cultures Research Hub at CCCU.

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