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 toledoblade.com 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 toledoblade.com. 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.
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