NYT takes the world to it’s readers with dedicated VR app

With a dedicated virtual reality app, website and a wealth of streaming 360º video content, The New York Times has recognised VR is a space where important stories can be told.
16.03.2016

From vigils in Paris to the Presidential Election, The New York Times virtual reality app and 360º video content is taking it’s readers closer to the events that matter.

From vigils in Paris to the Presidential Election, the NYT virtual reality app and 360º video content is taking it’s readers closer to the events that matter and even connecting to them stories they might otherwise ignore.  And it’s all down to one person, Jenna Pirog.

Eight months in to her new role, Jenna Pirog reveals what it’s like to be "the first full-time virtual reality editor at any publisher” and admits "... nobody knows that that means”.

After several years in the photographic and tech industries Pirog is spearheading the publication’s foray into VR, and it falls to her to figure out how to apply the immersive video format to Times articles.

While Pirog is the only full-time staffer devoted to VR, she works with about 30 colleagues from the Times’ newsroom, video, marketing and graphics department to create the films that live on the NYT VR app. Since VR is a new medium with not-yet-set rules, it’s important that the content dovetails with the paper’s journalistic ethics. 

Sitting in the magazine’s pitch meetings Jenna figures out which stories could use a VR component, asking the question: “Where can we take them that will be surprising and informative?”.

Since I am one of the only employees at The Times focused purely on VR, I try to set aside a little time every day to watch what other VR companies are making. I heard National Geographic put out an amazing 360-degree video over the weekend of an active volcano... It does not disappoint!

However, with the format still in its infancy, the Times is open to experimentation. “We’re still figuring out how to use it because we’re not exactly sure what the best story is, but we keep trying new things until we figure it out,” she said.

As the App Store description puts it “ Every day, we bring the world to our readers. With NYT VR, we bring our readers to the world. Through virtual reality, The New York Times puts you at the center of the stories that only we can tell"

Read the original Digiday article here