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What’s New in News: Virtual Reality

March 17, 2016
Whats in the News

 “USA TODAY Network to launch VR news series this spring.”

When I saw this headline last week, I perked up in my chair. Finally, a new place to land coverage. Lately, with the consolidation of newsrooms, it’s been the other way around.

The new platform, titled “VRtually There” will feature content from USA Today and its parent company Gannett’s 92 local news outlets. While USA Today is not the first news organization to explore virtual reality, it seems to be the first to dedicate an entire branch to this new way of storytelling.

Virtual reality is especially exciting as it allows audiences to experience news through a visual and stimulating experience – gone are the days of flat text.

I immediately thought about how we could use virtual reality to tell our clients’ stories.  Action-packed stories with compelling and moving visuals seem to be the right fit.  Just take a look at USA Today’s award-winning story on Iowan farm families last year. A moving piece on old family traditions, experienced through the most cutting-edge lens.

As communicators, it’s our job to keep up with how the news industry is evolving and then figure out how to pivot to continue to do our jobs most effectively for our clients. Virtual reality is just another avenue to gain visibility for our clients – but it drives home a point that we’ve all known for quite some time: visuals are more important than ever. Today, a story can’t exist in text alone.  We must think about how it will translate in multiple visual mediums. It’s our new reality.

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