Monday, October 7, 2013

PressReader merges print media past and future

Originally Published: August 20, 2011
I’m not going to go into the specifics, but I’m sure everyone knows how The Republican-Herald switched to paid unlimited access to the website and started offering a digital edition of the newspaper.
This post isn’t to try to sell you newspapers, but to tell you about this great app for iOS, Android, WebOS (although we had the recent news from HP), BlackBerry and Windows called PressReader. Even before the RH utilized it, I used the app to read China Daily, a newspaper where I interned, and the New York Times, my favorite newspaper.
Although I’m huge into the world of new media and blogging, I really love this app because I do like to have the print newspaper format, which this does just that. Starting with smartphones, media outlets have been making their own apps to get people to read on the go. I tried to get into them, reading on my iPhone or laterNexus One on the bus to campus (PSU, of course), but I couldn’t get into the same routine I have with physical newspapers. PressReader changed that for me.
A friend told me that many people in the newspaper/media industry see the app as not being innovative, but I have to argue against that. I see it as taking the old newspaper into the 21st century. You get the best of the print world, but also the convenience coming out of innovations from silicon valley.
I love being able to get up in the morning, pick up my iPad and my daily newspaper is waiting for me to dive into the words. It doesn’t get much simpler than that and it downloads in seconds, depending on how big the file is and your connection speed.
When reading the paper, you can easily zoom in to a story with pinch-to-zoom or double-tap. To turn the page you can either swipe to the left, press the triangle at the top of the page, or tap on the bottom bar to skip sections or swipe through them.
Other app features include the ability to print a page or screen, I can’t really comment on that since I haven’t used it, and you have the option of text-to-speech, where the stories will be read to you. I guess that could be useful to some people, but it sound a bit like a robot to me, although it did say my name correctly when I tested one of my stories.
One last feature is the ability to tap on a headline and it brings up the story in a pop-up window. It even notes where the page break was and what page the story had jumped to. This feature gives a more online article format.
To sum it all up, this is a great app for “print newspaper purists” who want to jump into the digital age or those who want an easier way to read and get their morning paper. It screams simplicity, ensuring that you can easily have your newspaper delivered to your device daily so you never have to worry about it getting stolen or ruined by the rain again. Anyone that can operate an iPhone will be able to use this app since the controls are also very simple and intuitive.
If I had to give it a rating, I’d give it about four and a half newspaper bundles out of five. The only thing I’d like to see improved is page turning since it seems to hesitate a bit.
One last thing, I realize I only talked about how to read a newspaper on it and not much on the other parts of the app such as purchasing publications, but it’s easy to figure out. The app may be free to download, but it has a built-in store that offers newspapers from all over the world. There are 327 newspapers in the PressReader store from the US alone. Anyone with questions how to get the digital edition of the RH should check out this page.
It seems the future of the newspaper may have finally come and it isn’t completely abandoning print journalism of the past. PressReader effortlessly merges print media’s past and future in a simple app. Be sure to check it out now if you haven’t yet.
P.S. Sorry for the glare on some of the photos, I did the best I could sitting at my desk trying to snap a few while armed only with my Motorola Atrix.

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