The demand for VR experiences is rapidly growing, and some news organizations have already begun to experiment in the space. The New YorkTimes, who were involved in our Future-C conference, have launched their free app (NYT VR) where users can watch news stories from around the world in VR format.
Caleb Garling of Wired suggests VR in journalism can become a tool to increase empathy. “If viewers can ‘feel’ the power of gunfire overhead in Syria and ‘stand’ shoulder to shoulder with grieving Syrians in the aftermath,” he writes, “They’ll understand these tragedies from the inside, not as just another headline.”
The Guardian created a virtual reality experience called 6×9 which gives viewers a sense of what it’s like to be a prisoner locked up in a solitary confinement cell measuring 6×9 feet. Two dimensional photographs and conventional video simply aren’t sufficient to convey a sense of how small the space is. According to Caroline Davis at The Guardian, “VR is fast becoming a popular means of storytelling, already widespread in gaming but on the cusp of breaking through into news media.”
VR companies around the world are being bought out by publishers like The Washington Post and The New York Times as journalism emerges as one of the most intuitive uses of the technology.