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The Blade to launch NewsSlide in October

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    Block Communications Inc. Chairman Allan Block speaks during the announcement of a new app from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called NewsSlide on Friday, September 29, 2017 in Oakland.

    Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette

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    Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian talks with Post-Gazette Publisher and Editor-In-Chief John Robinson Block and Block Communications Inc. Chairman Allan Block after the announcement of a new app from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called NewsSlide on Friday.

    Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette

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    iPads with the app PG NewsSlide can be seen during the announcement of a new app from the Post-Gazette called NewsSlide on Friday.

    Andrew Rush/Post-Gazette

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    Blade NewsSlide logo.

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Get ready for Blade News­Slide.

The Blade early next month will of­fer a dy­namic new way of get­ting the news, one that is de­signed to be more in­ter­ac­tive and im­mer­sive, through its use of text, video, and graph­ics, than tra­di­tional print news­pa­pers and In­ter­net news sites.

“It’s not text, it’s not print, it’s not video,” Al­lan Block, chair­man of Block Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc., which owns The Blade, said Fri­day. “We are cre­at­ing a great new me­dium and we’re go­ing to of­fer it for free and it’s go­ing to have the best fea­tures of the news­pa­per.

“You com­bine text with video, with an­i­ma­tion, with the In­ter­net, and you ef­fec­tively have a new com­mu­ni­ca­tions me­dium,” Mr. Block said. “We are launch­ing a rev­o­lu­tion, we are launch­ing a new me­dium.”

The plat­form runs on iPad or An­droid tab­lets as well as iPhone or An­droid mo­bile de­vices. News­Slide will launch on Oct. 11 and the app to ac­cess it will be down­load­able at no charge from the iTunes Store or Google Play Store.

Blade News­Slide is a prod­uct cre­ated by Han­son Inc., a Toledo dig­i­tal agency, com­mis­sioned by Block Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc., which also owns the Pitts­burgh Post-Ga­zette, which will be launch­ing PG News­Slide also on Oct. 11.

The Blade is al­ready pro­mot­ing News­Slide in its print edi­tion and on elec­tronic bill­boards in the Toledo met­ro­pol­i­tan area.

The in­spi­ra­tion for News­Slide came from Mon­treal's La Presse, the lead­ing French news­pa­per in Can­ada. LaPresse pro­duces a slide prod­uct, La Presse Plus, as its ma­jor daily news prod­uct.

News­Slide will not re­place to­le­ or the printed pa­per. Rather, it is a free-stand­ing en­ter­prise within the news­room that will be pub­lished in co­op­er­a­tion with the print edi­tion and to­le­ Like the print news­pa­per that ar­rives each morn­ing, an elec­tronic edi­tion of News­Slide will be sent each morn­ing by 5 a.m. to us­ers’ tab­lets and mo­bile de­vices.

Com­pany ex­ec­u­tives be­lieve News­Slide is a tool for re­claim­ing read­ers who have mi­grated away from the printed news­pa­per to on­line sites that pro­vide news for free.

Al­lan Block said the fu­ture for the news­pa­per in­dus­try is dig­i­tal.

“That doesn’t mean we won’t con­tinue to print for awhile, but dig­i­tal is the fu­ture. News­Slide is an at­tempt to break out of the cur­rent busi­ness model and cre­ate a new busi­ness model for the fu­ture,” Mr. Block said.

“We’re very proud of News­Slide,” said John Robin­son Block, pub­lisher and ed­i­tor-in-chief of The Blade and the Post-Ga­zette. “We think it will be a hit. It will de­liver news — a lot of news — very rap­idly. We think it will work bet­ter than other news de­liv­ery ser­vices that are out there.”

The tech­nol­ogy that brought News­Slide to life also will be a game-changer for ad­ver­tis­ers, al­low­ing them to en­gage with cus­tom­ers like never be­fore.

News­Slide al­lows com­pa­nies to do more than pur­chase a ban­ner ad. Com­pa­nies can show­case their brands by in­vit­ing cus­tom­ers to play, lis­ten, and see ad­ver­tise­ments in a way that Al­lan Block said would ''en­gage us­ers at a new level.”

He de­scribed News­Slide as ''a sales plat­form to fa­cil­i­tate e-com­merce.”

“We en­vi­sion a brick-and-mor­tar busi­ness will uti­lize News­Slide to im­prove the e-com­merce ex­pe­ri­ence. An ad in this me­dium can lead cus­tom­ers to a seam­less tran­si­tion to an e-com­merce trans­ac­tion,” he said.

Di­ana Block, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of Block Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said, “We all know that as the me­dium changes the me­dia has to change.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited about the ex­pe­ri­ence this prod­uct of­fers,” Ms. Block said.

News­Slide will com­bine words with video, charts, maps, and other graph­ics to help us­ers feel more con­nected with the is­sues cov­ered by re­port­ers and the peo­ple and places that are fea­tured.

PG News­Slide was rolled out in Pitts­burgh on Fri­day at Car­ne­gie Mel­lon Univer­sity, where an un­veil­ing event was held.

At­tend­ees in­cluded com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives as well as prom­i­nent Pitts­bur­ghers, in­clud­ing CMU pres­i­dent Far­nam Jahanian; Pitts­burgh Pen­guins pres­i­dent David More­house; Mario Lemieux Foun­da­tion pres­i­dent Tom Gre­alish, and Syl­van Holzer, a spe­cial ad­viser to the chair­man of PNC Finan­cial Ser­vices Group.

‘‘We chose Car­ne­gie Mel­lon for our an­nounce­ment be­cause it leads the world in dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy and in ap­ply­ing dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy,’’ Al­lan Block said.

A kick­off for Blade News­Slide for Toledo com­mu­nity lead­ers is sched­uled for Oct. 10 at The Heights, a new restau­rant atop the newly-opened Renais­sance Ho­tel along Toledo’s down­town riv­er­front.

Pitts­burgh Post-Ga­zette re­porter Tim Grant con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com419-724-6058, or on Twitter @TomFTroy.

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