October 26, 2006 4:00 AM PDT
Newsmaker: Reuters' 'Second Life' reporter talks shopSee all Newsmakers
Almost immediately, news agencies around the world picked up on the story, intrigued by the fact that one of the oldest existing news outlets would choose to station Adam Pasick, a full-time reporter, in an entirely virtual environment.
For its part, Reuters is using the bureau to disseminate its real-world news feeds to "Second Life" residents, hoping in the process to find a new audience.
Reuters is not the only news outlet to hang a shingle in "Second Life." In fact, CNET had previously opened a "Second Life" bureau and has been using the virtual space as a venue for interviewing luminaries from the technology community.
Still, the fact that Reuters--which is better known for financial and business reporting than for culture coverage--decided to set up shop in "Second Life" is noteworthy.
Known in-world as Adam Reuters, Pasick is new to covering virtual worlds. ( "Second Life" enables corporate clients to purchase their company's name as a last name for employees' avatars.) But as a seasoned Internet reporter, he is approaching the assignment as he would any new gig.
On Monday, Pasick visited CNET's "Second Life" bureau and sat down for an interview in front of an audience of about 40, during which he talked about many of the issues facing a reporter in such a different kind of environment.
Q: This has been a pretty exciting week or so for you, I'm guessing. What has it been like?
Pasick: You could say that the reaction to our launch went way beyond anything we had expected. Now that the attention from the mainstream press is dying down a little, I'm looking forward to getting into the reporting. We thought we might make a little splash. Instead, I've been getting interview requests from Poland, Colombia, Brazil, New Zealand.
How did the Reuters bureau come about?
Pasick: The idea originally came from a conversation between our CEO, Tom Glocer, and Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale at the Sun Valley Conference earlier this year. They came to me (recently) and asked if I wanted to run the bureau.
Pasick: I've been writing about technology and media for a while, and somehow, I've gotten the reputation within Reuters of being a bit of a geek.
What was your initial reaction to being asked if you wanted to do this? Did you know much about "Second Life" at that point?
Pasick: I had heard of "Second Life" but never had been in-world. To be completely honest, when I first heard the idea, I was a bit dubious. But even as I talked it over that first time, I saw that it could be a great idea if done well. I think that's typical of "Second Life": The more time you spend, the more it makes sense.
From that perspective, what did you think "done well" would mean?
Pasick: Offering something useful to the community and being a learning experience for Reuters. If it was just a quick PR hit, I wouldn't have been interested. This is my full-time job. I badly want it to succeed.
So what do you see as the "mission" of Reuters in "Second Life"?
Pasick: If we can provide good financial news and data to the "Second Life" business community, and find a new audience for Reuters among "Second Life" residents, I'll be happy.
So it's as much about bringing Reuters news into "Second Life" as about sending "Second Life" news out?
Pasick: It's twofold. We bring in real-life Reuters news for those who want it, and I write stories specifically for "Second Life" residents.
How do you plan to differentiate your "Second Life" coverage from that of the many "Second Life" bloggers?
Pasick: Well, there will be a certain amount of competition. That's inevitable. But there are so many good stories, especially in the economy and business sectors that I'm focusing on. We're just getting started. We're hoping to do a lot of quantitative stories about the economy, for example. That's one area where Reuters has a lot of expertise.
What was your budget for the bureau?
Pasick: I don't know the exact figure. Luckily, I didn't have to sit through those meetings. But it was a relative drop in the bucket for a company our size.
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