New Report Uses VR To Unearth Hidden Pollution Along US Border

by Jamie Feltham • December 12th, 2018

A new report from Palm Springs’ The Desert Sun uses VR to help tell the story of pollution along the US border in interesting new ways.

Journalists at The Sun began investigating pollution in the New River, which runs from the Mexican city of Mexicali, over the border and into the US, in 2016. Their findings were compiled in a comprehensive new report named Poisoned Cities: Deadly Border that features VR as one small part of the larger piece.

Various sections of the report can be consumed in different ways, depending on how much time the reader has and how they want to experience the story. They might just choose to listen to short audio clips that give them a feel for the situation, for example, or they can read the lengthy full report that uncovers alarming pollution rates in Mexicali.

VR, however, finds itself as a halfway house for people that want something more in-depth but might not want to commit to reading the full story. Journalists prepared a virtual tour of Mexicali’s industrial sites, complete with audio to walk them through what they’re seeing and added extras like images and maps to flesh the story out further.

It’s an intriguing way to utilize VR as a piece of journalism and something we could see a lot more of in the future.

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