High above the downtown Toledo riverfront, civic and business leaders Tuesday night got a closeup view of Blade NewsSlide, a dynamic, in-depth, and immersive approach to news, information, and advertising.
Starting at 5 a.m. Wednesday — and at 5 a.m. every day thereafter — an electronic edition of Blade NewsSlide will be sent to users' tablets and mobile devices.
“We’re going to take our users and our advertisers on an adventure,” Kurt Franck, interim general manager, executive vice president, and executive editor of The Blade, said at the Heights, the restaurant atop the new Renaissance Hotel.
With the cityscape as a backdrop, Mr. Franck and Larry Graham, news editor for NewsSlide, introduced Blade NewsSlide to a gathering of about 100.
“We’re just trying to tell good stories about the people of Toledo,” Mr. Graham said. “We’ve designed an app so it provides us, the people of Toledo, with the things we’re going to need on a regular basis.’’
The Blade NewsSlide platform runs on iPad or Android tablets as well as iPhone or Android mobile devices. The app is downloadable at no charge from the iTunes Store or Google Play Store.
Companies with ads on the platform can showcase their brands and invite customers to see advertisements in a ways that “engage users at a new level,” Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications Inc., which owns The Blade, said last month as PG NewsSlide was introduced to an audience at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He described NewsSlide as “a sales platform to facilitate e-commerce.”
BCI also owns the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which launches PG NewsSlide on Wednesday.
John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade said: “We think this is an exciting development that involves a platform that was created in Toledo by people who work in Toledo.”
Hanson Inc., a Toledo digital agency, created Blade NewsSlide, commissioned by BCI.
“The jobs of the future are based on things like this,” said Bruce Rumpf, chief executive of Job1 USA, a national firm based in Toledo. “I’m glad The Blade is leading the charge.”
Ralph Mahalak, Jr., an owner of Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Superstore, compared the Blade NewsSlide experience favorably to the difference between trying to follow hockey on an old-style television screen and watching the sport in high definition.
“This is that kind of game changer,” Mr. Mahalak said. “We are a visual society.”
The Blade has promoted NewsSlide in its print edition and on electronic billboards across metro Toledo.
“I was very impressed certainly with the multi-content — video, story, pictures,” said Clyde Scoles, director of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. “I think it will be a tremendous addition to the dissemination of information, which is our business, too.”
Blade NewsSlide is “an exciting evolution for us, no question,” said Diana Block, executive vice president of BCI. “I think the opportunity to use a medium that is so tactile and so inviting of exploration and so visual ought to create a really nice experience for users and for advertisers going forward.”
NewsSlide aims to connect users with issues covered by reporters, and with the people and places that are featured, by bringing together words with video, charts, maps, and other graphics.
The inspiration for NewsSlide came from Montreal's La Presse, the leading French newspaper in Canada. La Presse produces a slide product, La Presse Plus, as its major daily news product.
NewsSlide is described as a free-standing enterprise within the newsroom that will be published in cooperation with the print edition and toledoblade.com. It replaces neither toledoblade.com nor the printed newspaper.
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