“All the news that’s fit to print” may soon become “all the news that’s fit to project.”
The New York Times and Google are collaborating to send more than a million NYT subscribers Google Cardboard, an affordable, folding virtual reality device that allows users to attach their phones and experience virtual reality content. The idea will be to use Google Cardboard with ‘NYT VR,’ a new app the company is releasing that will feature a series of VR films that aim to transport users directly into the world of the stories they’re reading and the lives of the people who live there.
While there have been many VR startups and tech entrepreneurs who have tested the waters of virtual reality journalism, this is definitely one of the first mass opportunities for the average news consumer to experience virtual reality. VR journalism makes it possible for viewers to take part in the story they are reading, which supporters think will create a stronger connection between the viewer and the story. But there are also concerns about the potential for people to eventually desensitize themselves to the events they see, much like what has happened with television news.
How does the Google Cardboard technology work and who is going to get one? What is the potential for the future of virtual reality in journalism? Will it bring us closer to the stories we want to know more about or simply make us numb to the world around us?
James Milward, the founder and executive producer at Secret Location, a company that produces content for emerging platforms