Gannett, parent company of the USA TODAY Network, has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the “World’s Most Innovative Companies” for its work in virtual and augmented reality.
Following a groundbreaking year highlighted by AR mobile integration, the debut of 321 Launch and the roll out of The City podcast, Gannett earned the No. 4 spot on Fast Company’s 2019 list for AR/VR creativity behind Snap, Adobe and HTC Vive.
“I’m so proud of the work we have done at USA TODAY Network to receive this recognition,” Ray Soto, director of emerging tech at USA TODAY Network, said in a statement. “We have worked hard as a company to incorporate innovative storytelling for our audience and find new ways to help our journalists tell stories with the use of emerging technology.”
“I’m really excited to see our company listed among an amazing group of honorees,” he said.
Fast Company cites USA TODAY Network’s Pulitzer Prize-winning project The Wall, which examines President Donald Trump’s plans to build a wall along the southern border of the U.S. through a combination of VR, bots, 360-degree video, podcasts, and more.
The Wall: A 2,000-mile search for answers
In addition to the prestigious Pulitzer Prize, The Wall garnered several awards including an EPPY from Editor & Publisher and an Online Journalism Award for Explanatory Reporting in a Large Newsroom.
More: Arizona Republic, USA TODAY Network win EPPY award for project on President Trump’s border wall
More: The Arizona Republic, USA TODAY Network win online-news award for ‘The Wall’
In April 2018, USA TODAY unveiled 321 Launch, an AR rocket launch experience created in partnership with Florida Today. The USA TODAY Network property is in Florida’s Brevard County, home of Cape Canaveral. The app allows users to build a rocket and simulate take off.
Download: The 321 Launch app
In September, USA TODAY debuted the first season of The City, an investigative podcast with a narrated AR experience that examines the hidden power structures of urban America. The City was included as a top podcast of 2018 on lists by Apple, The New York Times and TuneIn.
The City: Download the investigative podcast from USA TODAY
Most recently, USA TODAY launched an augmented reality experience ahead of Sunday’s Academy Awards, allowing readers to get an up-close look at some of the costumes featured in this year’s Best Picture nominees, including “Black Panther,” “The Favourite,” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
More: Oscars costume party! Get up close with iconic outfits from ‘Black Panther,’ ‘Bohemian’
Download: Get the USA TODAY app for iOS or Android
All the projects are free to users.
New York City-based Fast Company annually recognizes worldwide brand leaders in 36 categories for innovation and impact on businesses, industries and culture. Chinese tech platform Meituan Dianping earned the top overall spot for its work on a “transactional super app” changing how local businesses interact with consumers.
This year’s top 50 list also includes the National Basketball Association, The Walt Disney Company, Target, Apple, Shopify and Twitch.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.