About the researcher

I'm a multimedia journalist with a keen interest in innovative and immersive news storytelling. Fluent in three languages—Italian, English, and Spanish—I'm deeply engaged in all facets of news reporting. Following my studies in psychology (BSc) and political psychology (MSc), I embarked on a three-year journey across South America. During this time, I undertook a solo bicycle tour from Chile to Brazil. There, I camped, cooked on the road, and volunteered in various facilities. It was during these travels that I discovered my passion for journalism. Subsequently, I pursued a Master's program in journalism innovation and enterprise. 

My career in journalism has seen me produce VR immersive experiences covering a range of topics. These include documenting an Antimilitaristic Raid on a NATO Base, highlighting Social Impact Projects in Brazilian Favelas, and creating a documentary on Capoeira in Bahia, Brazil, violent protest clashes in Buenos Aires, skaters in Argentinian ghettos. 

In addition to my journalistic endeavours, I also practice parkour, a discipline I have cultivated over several years. I love to make the most of this skill; for example, it has enabled me to capture dynamic footage from heights during the recent violent protest clashes in Buenos Aires. There, I scaled heights and employed a long stick on my camera to create aerial 360 views. This point of view offers a better spatial understanding to viewers compared to a ground perspective. 

Beyond virtual reality (VR), I have also ventured into the realm of augmented reality (AR) journalism. In my previous role, I produced an AR filter using 'Lens Studios.' This tool allows sources to anonymize themselves in real-time, empowering them to share their stories with confidence and control. This solution arose from the need to reach sources with sensitive narratives, ensuring their comfort and security during online interviews. 

Through my dedication to pushing the boundaries of journalism, I am committed to amplifying voices, sparking meaningful conversations, and driving positive change in the world. 

Research interests

Psychology, Social Psychology, Political Psychology, Innovation journalism, VR and cognition, Embodiment 

Chiara Fabbri

PhD abstract

Thesis title

Exploring Immersion and Empathy in Cinematic VR Journalism Through Direct Eye Contact and Bodily Presence  


This research seeks to deepen our understanding of immersive journalism, particularly within Cinematic Virtual Reality (CVR), by examining the influences of bodily presence and direct eye contact. Through the development of CVR experiences incorporating physical bodies and characters engaging in eye contact, the study aims to elucidate the dynamics of presence and empathy within this journalistic medium. 

Using a 'head-mounted' 360° camera setup, the project aims to establish a novel phenomenological framework for journalistic CVR, offering users a first-person perspective to heighten immersion. This approach addresses previous limitations in CVR journalism experiences, such as the absence of bodily presence leading to feelings of detachment. 

At its core, the research dives into the effects of direct eye gaze and bodily presence on the sense of presence and empathy in CVR journalism. Theoretical underpinnings emphasize the importance of these elements in fostering empathy, highlighting CVR's potential to amplify these aspects through embodiment and eye contact. 

Methodologically, the study involves crafting original CVR journalistic content and gathering data through participant interviews. Thematic analysis will be applied to uncover recurring themes in participants' responses, focusing on immersive presence and empathetic reactions across various scenarios and interface modalities. 

This research contributes to the evolving field of CVR journalism by addressing crucial gaps in existing literature, including understanding embodiment differences, social presences, and the impact of body movements on viewer experiences. Ultimately, the findings aim to inform both theoretical frameworks and practical applications in CVR journalism. 


Year Qualification Awarding body
2020-22 Journalism (Master of Arts)  Falmouth University
2016-17 Political Psychology (Master of Science)  University of Kent 
2013-16 Psychology (Bachelor of Science)   University of Westminster 

Areas of expertise

Multimedia Journalism: I have extensive experience in producing multimedia journalism content and am adept at creating written and video materials. 

VR Journalism: I possess proficiency in crafting VR journalism experiences, utilizing tools like 360° filming and VR storytelling to engage audiences in immersive news experiences. I have covered various settings such as conflict situations, raiding of military bases, favelas in both Brazil and Argentina, as well as sporting events. 

Language Proficiency: I am fluent in English, Italian, and Spanish, enabling me to communicate effectively and create content in multiple languages. Additionally, I am currently learning Portuguese. 

Psychology: With a background in psychology, including both a bachelor's and master's degree, I bring expertise in psychological research methods and understanding human behaviour to my work in journalism and storytelling. =

Research and Analysis: My academic and professional experiences showcase my strong research and analytical skills, particularly in conducting mixed-methods research and analysing online discourse and media content. 

AR/VR Application in Journalism: I have practical experience in applying AR and VR technologies to journalism, including developing AR tools to support storytelling and researching the effects of embodiment and direct eye gaze in VR journalism. 

Parkour: My interest and experience in parkour provide expertise in sports journalism and storytelling related to urban culture. I have also utilized this skill to climb over urban settings to take videos from an aerial perspective, providing unique points of view not available to journalists who stay only on the ground. 

Social Issues Reporting: I have covered a wide range of social issues in my journalism, including protest movements, conflict situations, mental health, sex education, refugees, environmentalism, and solution journalism. 

Teaching and Lecturing: I have some experience as a university journalism professor, as well as teaching as a volunteer for various facilities for children. Currently, I am teaching language as well as sports in underprivileged communities in Buenos Aires. 

Digital Literacy: I possess strong digital literacy skills, including proficiency in various software tools for content creation, video editing, statistical analysis, and social media management. 

Industry Knowledge: My expertise extends to various aspects of the journalism industry, including news researching, fact-checking, interviewing, scripting, 360° filming, video production/editing, translating, mobile journalism, web content writing, copywriting, and social media management and outreach. 

Professional engagements

Journalism Professor – University West Alabama (Remote, October 2023 – December 2023)  

Prepare and give university lecture on Mass Media, Journalism and application with AR and VR. 

SEEN - News Producer (Remote, September 2021 – October 2022)  

My role covered all aspects of story production of video content: from researching and interviewing sources, to fact-checking and coordinating the final video production with a team of editors. 

I have also assisted with the production of innovative Augmented Reality (AR) tools to support these stories. For example, with ‘Lens Studios‘ I personally created a filter which allows sources to anonymise themselves in real-time. The intent of this filter was to allow sources to feel more comfortable sharing their story knowing that they have full control of their own anonymisation rather than in the hands of an online team of journalist and editors that have never met. The background is projected as a green screen so that the team of editors can overlay a b-roll sequence to foster engagement to the story. 

This idea came as a result of the company issue to reach sources who had very sensitive stories and were uncomfortable with sharing their identity during online interviews. 

MÜV Magazine - Feature Article Writer (Remote, June 2021) 
Feature Writer - Wrote a piece on parkour and mental health during Covid-19. 

Olive Network - Editor and Writer (Remote, October 2020 – January 2021) 
Produce and edit content on news stories regarding refugees, displaced living, and mental health issues. 

The Rory Peck Trust - Content Writer (Remote, October 2020) 
Wrote the profile of the 2020 award winners Alejandro Bernal and Ramon Campos, after carrying personally an interview with Alejandro. 

World of Parkour Magazine - Reporter (Remote, July 2019 - 2022) 
Reporter - Produced written and video content for the Parkour community. 

ROVA Magazine - Feature Writer (Remote, December 2019) 
Wrote an article on "bike-packing", a synthesis of mixed-terrain cycling and minimalist camping. 

The Bocas Breeze - Reporter (Panama, June 2018) 
Reported and wrote news-paper articles on local social initiatives.