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Postmedia newspapers innovate with iPad editions

Ten of Canada’s major newspapers, including The Province, have broken new ground in the digital world, launching innovative apps for the Apple iPad.

“Walk into any coffee house in this city and you see more and more people enjoying an iPad break with their favourite beverage,” noted Province Editor-in-chief Wayne Moriarty.

“We want The Province app to be the news destination of choice for that audience.”

Some of the features announced Tuesday have never been seen before in a newspaper application, said Steve Buors, Postmedia Network’s vice-president of digital media strategy and operations.

But Buors, who led the project, is also quick to point out that the papers — metro dailies with the Postmedia chain — aren’t forgetting their roots.

“The look and feel is very much like a newspaper — it’s comfortable,” he said, showing how each app uses the same typeface as its paper’s print edition. “But it integrates a lot of the best things about the web, like photo galleries and social interaction.”

The Province iPad app is really the best of both worlds for our readers,” says Mobile Editor Carey Gillette. “You get the top stories from the newspaper and regular favourites like Georgia Nicols’ astrology and our wall-to-wall Canucks coverage, combined with breaking news and photo galleries from

“Of course, you’ll have to clean the fingerprints off your iPad screen a lot more often because there are so many great stories and features to flip through.”

For some readers, the apps, which will be updated several times a day, will evoke memories of a time when newspapers printed multiple editions throughout the day.

“This isn’t the newspaper on an iPad, this is an iPad edition with content tailored to take advantage of the technology,” said Scott Anderson, Postmedia’s senior vice-president of content.

The apps are also a way for Postmedia to attract a new demographic — people who don’t read the daily print editions — as the company continues to move forward into the digital world, said Malcolm Kirk, executive vice-president of digital media.

“Products like the iPad and smartphones allow you to target new audiences,” he said. “But it’s also a symbol and a way to highlight the kind of innovative technology and compelling content our company is producing. We are more now than just a printed edition of your daily newspaper.”

Combining the new platform with the trusted medium came pretty naturally, Kirk said.

“The iPad really offers a strong visual experience, which the newspaper lends itself very, very effectively to,” he said. “I think many people will tell you reading a newspaper is an enjoyable thing. So, now we’re offering that through a new platform.”

A team of marketers, developers and content experts worked on the apps for several months, integrating some features they’ve never seen in other newspapers’ apps, such as real-time commenting.

When a reader uses the app to comment on a story, that comment is also updated on the website, Buors explained.

The reverse is also true, so a person reading the paper through the app is immediately able to see comments posted online.

“So, not only are you enjoying a newspaper-like experience, but you can have a conversation with the other people reading the story.”

Another innovative feature, which Postmedia calls “popular stories around me,” allows a reader to see which articles are most popular in their community — not just those that are most read on the website by readers around the world.

The popularity is presented in heat map form, showing the reader what content is being read where.

And, out of the gate, readers like the feature.

“I actually find it pretty cool that I can see what people in my city are interested in — helps me find the interesting stories a lot easier,” a reviewer said about the Saskatoon StarPhoenix app.

The apps are sponsored, meaning readers can download them at no cost. The advertisements are integrated into the pages, like in the pages of a newspaper’s print edition.

“It’s really the comfort of your newspaper meets the power and versatility of the web,” Buors said


Windsor Star

Ottawa Citizen

Montreal Gazette

Calgary Herald

Edmonton Journal

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Regina Leader-Post

Vancouver Sun

Vancouver Province

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