Des Moines Register and Gannett Product Win First Ever, ‘Best Use of Technology in Journalism’ Award for Virtual Reality and 360-Degree Video

The National Press Foundation recognizes The Des Moines Register and Gannett Product for groundbreaking use of virtual reality and 360-degree video in the newsroom

MCLEAN, Va. — (BUSINESS WIRE) — November 18, 2015 — The National Press Foundation awards The Des Moines Register and the Gannett product team as the first-ever recipients of the ‘Best Use of Technology in Journalism’ award for the “Harvest of Change” and “Iowa State Fair Soapbox” projects.

As part of the USA TODAY NETWORK, The Des Moines Register worked closely with the Gannett product team to produce a groundbreaking, Edward R. Murrow award winning virtual reality (VR) experience on Iowa agriculture called “Harvest of Change.” The 3-D immersive tour of a southwest Iowa family farm was the first of nine VR experiences produced by journalists and digital product experts within the USA TODAY NETWORK.

In addition to Harvest of Change, The Des Moines Register and the Gannett product team provided live 360-degree coverage of the speeches from the Iowa State Fair Presidential Soapbox, giving at-home viewers a first-of-its-kind, fully immersive experience of this Iowa State Fair tradition.

“These two projects reflect the Des Moines Register’s persistent pursuit of innovation and new ways of storytelling with their partners at Gannett product. The use of new tools like virtual reality and 360-degree video reflects a culture of experimentation in a newsroom that should be recognized and rewarded. Their utilization of technology created game-changing consumer experiences. The judges were impressed the Register produced two technologically ambitious projects in one year,” said the National Press Foundation Judges.

“We are pioneers in this space, creating content with 360-degree video and telling stories through new mediums like virtual reality. This is allowing us to connect with our audiences and provide an expanded news experience,” says Mitch Gelman, vice president of product at Gannett. “With our 92 local news properties and USA TODAY, our intent is to better connect our audience to stories and provide them with an experience that is deeply immersive and relevant to them on a national, local or personal level.”

“We’re particularly proud of this award because both of these projects reflect topics of importance to our readers — agriculture and politics,” Register Executive Editor Amalie Nash said. "To team up with Gannett product and be able to delve into those topics in new and immersive ways was ground–breaking. We received fantastic feedback in both cases and are committed to continuing to find new ways to tell stories and connect with our readers."

About Gannett:

Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is an international media and marketing solutions company that informs and engages more than 100 million people every month through its powerful network of digital, mobile and publishing properties. Our portfolio of trusted brands offers marketers unmatched local-to-national reach and customizable, innovative marketing solutions across any platform. Gannett is committed to connecting people – and the companies who want to reach them – with their interests and communities. For more information, visit


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