Nearly 60 million people around the world have been driven from their homes by war and persecution – more than any other time since World War II. Half are children. The Displaced is the story of three of those children. The film tells the stories of three children from Syria, Ukraine and Sudan whose lives have been upended by conflict and follows them as they move forward, trying to rebuild in the aftermath of earth-shattering events. Over 1 million subscribers to the NY Times received a special edition Google Cardboard on Sunday, November 8th 2015 giving them the opportunity to empathize and experience the devastation of the refugee crisis firsthand – an idea considered unattainable in journalism until the advent of VR.
With The Displaced, millions of people both young and old were not only exposed to their first VR film, but through this timely convergence of technology and journalism lent an entirely new perspective to what has already become one of the pivotal events of this century. Thousands shared the experience on social media with the hashtag “#NYTVR” and media outlets worldwide praised the film and its creators, declaring VR’s arrival into the mainstream. Within the first three days of its release, the NYTVR app had been downloaded more times than any other app in the publication’s history. The New York Times has now made VR a priority, changing the way we get our news for years to come.