Of all the odd beats for news reporters, this one may take the cake: Second Life reporter. That’s Adam Pasick’s new job at Reuters. Second Life is an online virtual world where characters do real-world stuff like building houses and conversing for hours at a time. The role-playing world — I hesitate to call it a game, because its creators once stressed to me that it is not a game — has more than 850,000 players.
The New York Times says:
In preparing to open a Reuters bureau on a bustling island, Adam Pasick has been introducing himself to residents and interviewing entrepreneurs. After finishing such interviews, Mr. Pasick often levitates for a moment, then flies over buildings.
Mr. Pasick, a Reuters technology reporter who was formerly earthbound with the news agency, is heading up Reuters’ first virtual news bureau inside the online role-playing game Second Life. While many independent journalists and bloggers have published inside such virtual worlds, Reuters is the first established news agency to dispatch a full-time reporter to do so.
For any journalist interested in social behavior online, this certainly ranks as one of the more appealing beats at Reuters. But for how long will the subject matter remain interesting for the London-based Pasick? Will Reuters be able to expand its audience with this new coverage arena? Techdirt might have a point when it says covering the Second Life economy, where users buy and sell real estate, clothing and other stuff, “really seems secondary to the publicity aims of this move.”
I used to cover online adult entertainment for WSJ.com. I wonder if Pasick will investigate the adult side of Second Life, described here.