An inside look at ABC News' expansion of virtual reality reporting

In September Disney invested $65m in Jaunt a virtual reality startup. Found Remote is already starting to see the fruits of that investment in media conglomerate's TV properties. ABC News has taken their storytelling to the next level by starting to use Jaunt more for reporting.

Most recently ABC News’ Bob Woodruff took viewers to North Korea with "an immersive, 360-degree virtual reality experience from inside the capital city of Pyongyang as leader Kim Jong Un celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Workers’ Party with a military parade." Found Remote interviewed ABC News Digital Executive Producer Dan Silver about their increasing use of this new technology.

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Found Remote: When did ABC News start using VR?

Dan Silver: We launched ABC News VR in September with an immersive experience from Damascus, Syria with Alexander Marquardt. He and the team put the piece together in a way that helped us realize that we have the capability to do something really special. When used properly, we have the ability to transport our audience to a place they may otherwise never have access to.

FR: Why the investment in it?

DS: The 360 degree camera gives us yet another tool to tell great stories. An experience guided by our talented journalists combined with distinctive user control engages our audience in a way unlike anything we’ve done before. We’re able to craft multiple layers onto a story in a way that’s organic and connected to what we’re covering on our broadcast and other digital platforms.

FR: What have you done so far with VR?

DS: In addition to Inside Syria, we launched Inside North Korea this week. It’s a fascinating piece.

Although our access to places throughout the country was tightly controlled, this experience provides viewers a chance to walk through the streets of Pyongyang with Bob Woodruff, see what a North Korean subway station looks like, and ultimately be in the presence of Kim Jung Un during the 70th Anniversary military parade.

FR: What have the results been?

DS: We’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive response from both of our VR projects. The 360 camera definitely gives us a much broader canvas to create a unique and meaningful experience for our audience. If a viewer feels like they’ve been transported somewhere, and they walk away knowing more, then we have succeeded.

FR: Any partners?

DS: We’ve partnered with Jaunt on both our VR pieces and we are fortunate to have their support. Their team works closely with our producers during post production to ensure that the final product be as immersive as possible. They’re wonderful collaborators.

FR: Anything else?

DS: Like we did with VR, we’re eager to be at the forefront of innovative storytelling, leveraging emerging technologies to provide dynamic and unmatched experiences. We’ll continue to find ways to expand our breadth of reporting and storytelling in order to engage audiences across the ever-changing digital landscape.

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Natan Edelsburg

I help run the Shorty Awards (http://shortyawards.com) and Muck Rack (http://muckrack.com). I also watch a lot of TV and write about it occasionally. http://linkd.in/nedelsburg

All by Natan