North­ern Cal­i­for­nia pa­per launches AR

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The Ledger Dis­patch of Jack­son, Cal­i­for­nia, also har­nessed the power of aug­mented re­al­ity to bring its pages to life in Fe­bru­ary. The pub­lisher's in­ter­ac­tive news ini­tia­tive al­lows read­ers of the twice-weekly pa­per to use their smart­phones to "see" trig­ger im­ages in the news­pa­per and ac­cess a deeper level of con­tent.

The Ledger Dis­patch's AR ex­pe­ri­ence is com­pat­i­ble with both iOS and An­droid de­vices. By down­load­ing an app, read­ers sim­ply hold their An­droid or iPhone over pho­tos or blocks of text to launch the in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence. This is a sim­i­lar AR project to what The Philadel­phia In­quirer did back in 2012.

"With this tool, read­ers can use their news­pa­per as a launch pad to watch movie trail­ers, read the lo­cal crime log, shop for a new car, view the last few min­utes of a high school bas­ket­ball game, or just ex­plore dif­fer­ent di­men­sions of a news story," Jack Mitchell, pub­lisher of the Ledger Dis­patch, said in a state­ment. "The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less. With just a smart­phone, the tra­di­tional news­pa­per be­comes a 21st Cen­tury in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence."

Mitchell said the tech­nol­ogy also holds tremen­dous ap­peal for ad­ver­tis­ers. With AR, ad­ver­tis­ers can layer video, au­dio and other fea­tures be­hind an ad­ver­tise­ment in the pages of the pa­per, en­hanc­ing their abil­ity to woo cus­tomers, he said.

"We believe news­pa­pers are the glue that holds com­mu­ni­ties to­gether, and we know they are strug­gling," said Rich Hoff­man, CEO of the Jack­son Rancheria Band of Mi­wuk In­di­ans, which owns the Ledger Dis­patch.

"We think the AR ex­pe­ri­ence can help news­pa­pers win back read­ers, and we want to make this tech­nol­ogy ac­ces­si­ble to them on a wide scale."

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