News publications are using AR to supplement stories

News publications are evolving and adapting to cater to today’s digital audience, causing them to think outside the box when it comes to how they can report news and craft stories. These publications are using augmented reality to supplement their usual offerings, providing readers with a more immersive experience.


The Washington Post is bringing World Heritage sites to people’s mobile devices with the launch of a new AR experience via the publication’s app. The app uses 3D images and audio narration to transport people to two of 23 UNESCO World Heritage sites—Yellowstone National Park, located across WY, MT, and ID, and Monticello, located in Charlottesville, VA. Users can point their smartphones cameras in any direction to explore signature objects from each location. They can see and learn about the bison of Yellowstone like they were standing next to them or examine Thomas Jefferson’s inventions as though they were in the study of his Monticello home. The publication’s use of AR to supplement its written pieces demonstrates the ways in which news media is adopting new tech to provide immersive experiences.


Following the successful rescue mission of the Thai Wild Boars soccer team from an underground cave, The New York Times released an AR re-creation of the Tham Luang Cave openings to supplement its coverage of the story and provide readers with more perspective. Using the New York Times app, readers can immerse themselves in the rescue—the app displays a black wall with cutouts representing the different cave openings, allowing readers to better understand the perils of the mission. This is the latest AR feature created by the publication, which began using AR to innovate news designs in February, demonstrating its commitment to using technology to enhance readers’ experience.


USA Today is dabbling in tech with the creation of an AR app called 321 Launch, a new interactive digital platform for space news and entertainment. Through the app, users can build and launch their own rocket ships on any flat surface using an AR virtual launchpad. As users build their rockets and prepare for takeoff, the app displays useful bits of information about different structures and launch processes. Space enthusiasts can also use the app to tune in to a livestream of an actual rocket launch, if one is scheduled, as it happen in real time with commentary by space reporters from the local news brand Florida Today.