Podcast Spotlight: The Old Gray Lady Goes Virtual

When listing early adopters to any new medium, newspapers aren't usually included. But the New York Times has bucked the trend lately with a VR-focused newsroom. 

This was the topic of a recent Everything VR/AR podcast, with guests Jenna Pirog and Sam Dolnick, of the Times. You can stream the episode below or on our Podcast page.

As the Virtual Reality editor at the New York Times Magazine, Pirog is the first person to hold the title.  "We're all still trying to figure out what that means," she says.  

Among other things, the "Old Gray Lady" has shipped more than 1 million cardboard units in partnership with Google, and continues to produce VR pieces across coverage areas. 

These can be seen in the NYTVR app for Android & iOS, as well as popular cardboard-compatible apps like VRSE (see the NYT Magazine VR segment on "Walking New York").

Distributing Cardboard headsets was to get over the classic chicken-and-egg hump according to Dolnick: Without device penetration, the content wouldn't find a home. 

The question moving forward is how NYT will embrace VR to boost its business model and longstanding position as a revered news authority. Will it become the "VR of record" too?

"The Times contains multitudes, and NYTVR will have the same breadth," said Dolnick. "You're going to see us experiment with different kinds of story telling, and try out narratives." 


Everything VR/AR is the official podcast of the VR/AR Association. It's produced weekly and we will spotlight episodes here on the VR/AR Beat. You can also subscribe on iTunes. 


Mike Boland

Michael Boland is Chief Analyst and VP of Content for BIA/Kelsey, covering online and mobile media. Mike is a frequent speaker at top industry conferences such as BIA/Kelsey events, Search Engine Strategies, ad:tech, and WHERE 2.0. He has authored in-depth reports on the changing local media landscape including online video, social networking and mobile. He contributes regularly to highly read online news sources such as Business Insider and the Huffington Post. A trusted source for reporters covering the interactive media space, his comments have appeared in major news and trade media, including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Forbes. Previously he was a San Francisco-based freelance writer for business and technology magazines, such as Red Herring, Business 2.0, and Mobile Magazine. Mike began his career in business analysis and journalism as a staff reporter for Forbes magazine, where he covered tech & media.