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New York Times using virtual reality

  • Published on November 7, 2015
New York Times using virtual reality

This weekend the New York Times moves beyond its nickname of the old grey lady and becomes the hip publisher of the future as they produced and distributed several stories using virtual reality, or VR. The change in perception is staggering for a newspaper that at one time did not want to publish color photos on their front page as they feared it might detract from the stories they were publishing. Now the times is serving 1 million digital subscribers and is adding cutting-edge storytelling techniques to the news they share.

Gone are the days of a single print layout that is the only way in which a story unfolds identically for all readers. The newspaper continues to be read in print by many subscribers, but they are just as likely to access the same stories on phone, tablet, or desktop computers. Now with virtual reality, newspaper readers can learn about the stories in much greater detail.

The stories being shared through virtual reality by the New York Times are distributed through an app, or program, available for iPhone and Android phones. Using a special cardboard viewer, the outside world is removed from peripheral vision, immersing the viewer into the digital story.

This is a substantial advancement for the New York Times and for the role of newspapers overall. Since the advent of the computer, the most significant change in technology that touched most papers was when they learned InDesign to more efficiently create layouts that were still printed and distributed the same as they had been for decades. Now with digital storytelling and virtual reality, video narratives, documentaries, and behind-the-scenes footage are edited together.

Technologies impact on newspapers and journalists

The use of new mediums and technologies to share stories requires that journalists be able to use more than just a keyboard or narration to tell their story. The ability to use a camera and the need to learn Premiere Pro or other video editing tools is becoming essential for the multifaceted ways in which stories are shared with an audience.

About the author

Christopher Smith is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the publisher and editor of the Digital Classroom book series, which have sold more than one million copies. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, and HP. An expert on web analytics and digital marketing, he delivers Google Analytics training along with workshops on digital marketing topics. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.