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The Daily, Next Issue provide tablet examples for news publications

October 9, 2011

By Christopher O’Driscoll
Eastern Illinois University

The Daily is a canary in a cold mine.  If it comes out alive, newspapers will know the mobile platform is a route they can follow.

A design heavy, iPad-only publication, The Daily has a magazine look with a newspaper schedule. That means they put out a new edition every day.

“Design is one the most important things at The Daily,” said Mike Schmidt, creative director.  “Especially the editorial design.”

Because of the iPad’s interface, The Daily actually designs two versions a day, one for a vertical format and the other for a horizontal format.

Schmidt spoke alongside Claus Enovoldsen, a senior marketing manager at Next Issue Media, spoke during the Tablet/Mobile Strategies and Visions for News Organizations workshop in St. Louis, Mo. Sept. 29.  Their presentation covered designing newspaper editions for tablet users.

“Tablets are still in diapers,” said Enovoldsen.

The Daily has gone through four updates in less than a year.

Growth is in the future for the tablet market.  By 2015, the sales of tablets will equal today’s desktop computer sales.

According to Schmidt, readers are very engaged. “People are commenting a ton,” he said.

Readers can leave audio-only comments in the application as well.

At Next Issue, they specialize in making enhanced versions of publications for tablets.  Next Issue looks to publications like The Daily for inspiration when it comes to enhancing stories for the iPad and other mobile platforms.

Because of these efforts, readers of Next Issue’s publications found themselves reading stories they probably would have skipped.

“It’s not about a video or this or that, it’s about the package,” said Schmidt.  “Telling a story is important with text and pictures and video and everything you’ve got.

Employees of these publications also aren’t the typical designers or copy editors.

“We had to find people that knew HTML5 and were graphic designers,” said Enovoldsen.

“This industry is ripe for smart young talented people,” said Schmidt. “Hire documentary film makers who don’t use the word multimedia – they just do.”

What won’t change is the feeling of closure when reading an interactive edition. People like the newspaper experience where there are pages to swipe through. On the web, a site can seem endless with endless content.

“You have a start, and you have an end,” said Enovoldsen.  “People crave that.”

Overall, Schmidt and Enovoldsen could agree that the newspaper is not dead, but it is sick.

“It’s time to rip the Band-Aid and go all out,” said Enovoldsen.

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