Inside the WSJ's experiments with virtual reality

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"We want to work collaboratively with other media organizations to shape the future of telling stories," says global head of visuals.

HONG KONG — While virtual reality has its challenges and limitations, The Wall Street Journal’s global head of visuals, Jessica Yu, believes that "getting in early and experimenting" is key to the medium’s success in the future.

WSJ has just released a special virtual-reality series focusing on the world in 2050. The first country report is for Japan. While BMW is a sponsor for the feature, WSJ said that there are "no major sales or marketing strategies" behind any of its virtual-reality projects.

Instead, the media company is focusing more on "storytelling innovation, audience engagement, and supporting the development of this new technology across the media industry" in these early stages.

During a visit to Hong Kong, Yu told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the WSJ will be open-sourcing its virtual-reality mobile code, which the company developed internally for its digital platform.

"We want to work collaboratively with other media organizations to shape the future of telling stories using this medium," Yu said.

In addition to empowering developers in media organizations, Yu added that trying different approaches to VR storytelling, including the use of 360 video, is paramount to understanding the medium and platform as "any rules are yet to be defined."

So far, WSJ has released a few VR feature stories.

Similarly, in October, the New York Times partnered with Google on a virtual-reality project, which included the distribution of more than 1 million cardboard VR viewers to subscribers.

\WSJ's guide for readers wanting to get the full VR experience.
WSJ's 2050 feature on Japan.
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