VR Diaries: ‘Fight for Falluja’ Took Me to Another Place, but I Wanted to Get Closer

After watching “Fight for Falluja” produced by the New York Times, I believe the most powerful part was when we were in the room where the ISIS soldiers kept their prisoners. It was horrifying to see small animal cages and tall thin cages designated for human beings. When we were actually put inside of the tall thin cage, it was shocking. Virtually I felt like I did not have enough space to move around, so I could not even imagine how it felt to be kept there in real life. What made the cage worse was seeing the meat scraps that were left on the ground for the prisoners to eat. The conditions were simply inhumane.

When I was watching the video, I felt like the only weak parts were the people in the video. They seemed to look a little blurry. I am not sure if it was just my headset or the actual video. I felt distracted at times and removed from the story because I was trying to figure out what was going on.

However, the most memorable part of the video was when we were shown the ISIS soldier in the street decapitated. The only way I knew about those details were because of the reporter. I wanted to be able to move closer and try to see for myself, but that is a limitation to virtual reality right now. The inability to get closer and explore areas outside of what was shown hindered my experience a little. The story was still powerful, but I wanted the ability to have more control.

As far as reporting goes, I felt the storytelling techniques that were used helped to push the story forward. The story was not boring and I did not have any questions about the information that was presented to me.

Overall, this piece did not change my view of the subject matter or people. I believe the piece just gave me more information about a topic I had already learned about. I would recommend for future virtual reality journalism pieces to possibly get closer to the subjects if they can. I would also wanted to have more background on the timeline of events for the piece.