Online world to get news bureau

Reuters has opened a virtual news agency in the Second Life online world The bureau will be staffed by Reuters media correspondent Adam Pasick who will report on the lives and business dealings of Second Life's residents. An avatar resembling Mr Pasick, called Adam Reuters in the game, has been created to act as a virtual reporter in the world for the news agency. Second Life has almost one million members and 400,000 of those are regular visitors to the online world. Making headlines While many online virtual worlds are games that encourage users to live out a fantasy existence as a warrior or wizard, Second Life is intended to be a more playful version of the real world. Second Lifers can alter their appearance to look like animals or robots and buy outlandish homes, such as giant shoes, to live in. The virtual world has been in the news a lot recently as real world firms establish in-game presences. Car maker Toyota is planning to offer a virtual version of its Scion xB van to Second Lifers. BBC Radio One has rented an island in the game that will be used to stage concerts. Mr Pasick said he would act like any other correspondent and chase up news stories in Second Life. "As strange as it might seem, it's not that different from being a reporter in the real world," he said. "Once you get used to it - it becomes very much like the job I have been doing for years." He is also planning to explore issues that the growth of online worlds have exposed, such as the intersection between real and virtual economies. The currency in Second Life, known as Linden dollars, can be swapped for real money and many regular players make a significant income from their game transactions. On an average day the Second Life economy involves the turnover of goods and services worth more than $400,000 dollars. News stories will be filed to a blog and to a portable device that Reuters will make available to Second Life avatars so they can stay up to date with the latest virtual and real world news. No responsibility can be taken for the content of external Internet sites.

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