Reuters To Open Virtual News Bureau In Second Life - InformationWeek

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Reuters To Open Virtual News Bureau In Second Life

The Reuters Atrium, scheduled to launch this week, offers Second Life's hundreds of thousands of "residents" a community center where they can hold discussions and see the latest news images and videos.

The Reuters news agency plans to open this week a newsroom in the online virtual world Second Life, a 3-D fantasyland where members are building a real multi-million-dollar marketplace.

The Reuters Atrium is scheduled to launch on Wednesday, offering Second Life's hundreds of thousands of residents a community center where they can hold discussions, and see the latest news images and videos. In addition, residents of the virtual world will be able to carry mobile devices, called the Reuters News Center, which will display real-life and Second Life news wherever they travel in the make-believe world.

Second Life, created by Linden Labs in San Francisco, is a simulation game in which players create an avatar that can create objects, such as houses, furniture and clothes; and buy and sell them using a virtual currency called Linden Dollars. The virtual world's currency can be traded in for real cash.

More than 900,000 people have registered with Second Life, spending about $350,000 a day on average, or $13 million a year, according to Reuters. The number of users is growing in the double digits each month.

"Reuters is all about innovation -- new technologies, new audiences, and new ways of presenting the news," Tom Glocer, chief executive of Reuters, said in a prepared statement. "In Second Life, we're making Reuters part of a new generation. We're playing an active role in this community by bringing the outside world into Second Life and vice versa."

The London-based company is opening a Second Life news bureau, and has assigned reporter Adam Pasick as bureau chief. Pasick will cover events in the virtual world.

"Reuters capability and experience in news and financial reporting will be valuable to the thousands of people who need to make decisions about how they run their businesses inside Second Life," Pasick said in a statement. "Whatever the news, Reuters will be there."

Reuters, an international news agency with 15,300 employees in 89 countries, is not the first company to open shop in Second Life. Others include carmaker Toyota, record company Sony BMG and computer maker Sun Microsystems. Clothier American Apparel sells clothes and accessories for dressing up avatars in the virtual world.

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