Approximately 1.2 million Americans woke up Nov. 7 to discover a small cardboard box had been delivered atop their Sunday New York Times. It was the size and shape of a promotional box of breakfast cereal or laundry detergent. It was, however, a revelation of how Americans will probably be accessing journalism in the near future.
The box, designed with the help of Google and General Electric, is The Times' new virtual reality viewer that immerses the newspapers' readers into 21st century storytelling.
The Times VR viewer requires the NYT VR app, available for iPhones and Android devices. To date, The Times has included stories about children driven from their homes by war and persecution, and a short film about the paper's "Walking New York" magazine cover story.
Virtual reality is not new, but The Times' cheap, mass produced and distributed version is a game-changer for discerning consumers of news and superb storytelling.