Your newspaper comes alive

By Norma Najacht

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Deeper content. Pictures move. Ads talk. Live shopping. And it all starts with your newspaper.

In a dramatic move that promises to delight readers and advertisers alike, the Custer County Chronicle is harnessing augmented reality (AR) technology to bring its pages to life.

The Chronicle is the first newspaper in the state to implement this technology.

This groundbreaking interactive news initiative by the Chronicle allows readers to use their smartphones to access a deeper level of content. After downloading a free app, readers simply hold their Android or iPhone device over photos, blocks of text or advertisements to launch the interactive experience. A QR code inside this issue of the Chronicle can also be used to download the app.

“With this tool, readers can use their newspaper as a launch pad to view videos of Custer High School sports teams, explore different dimensions of a news story and even view a menu, make reservations or shop for a vehicle,” said Charley Najacht, publisher of the Chronicle. “The possibilities are endless. With just a smartphone, the traditional newspaper becomes a 21st Century interactive experience.”

Unlike virtual reality, AR does not require the use of special glasses, computers or other accessories, notes Najacht. Its power lies in the ability to access digital imagery on the printed page just by using a smartphone.

“This is a great technological tool for readers and advertisers because it’s easy to use and works on a smartphone,” Najacht continued. “It turns the newspaper into a portal for accessing limitless opportunities in a reader’s local community and beyond.”

AR is perhaps best known for its 2016 application in the wildly popular Pokemon Go game. Nissan recently launched an AR experience that lets shoppers view cars through a device that delivers guided tours of automobile features by Star Wars droids and Stormtroopers. With that application, however, consumers need to visit a showroom. 

With the Chronicle’s new app, users can enjoy AR while eating oatmeal and reading the Chronicle at their breakfast table.

Najacht said the technology holds tremendous appeal for advertisers, as businesses will now be able to layer video, audio and other features behind an advertisement in the pages of the newspaper, enhancing their ability to woo customers.

It also holds much promise for other applications, such as talking business cards, labels, rack cards and brochures. 

“The possibilities are endless. This application is bound only by a person’s imagination,” Najacht said.

He said Southern Hills Publishing will use AR in all its publications, including the magazines and special sections it publishes.

“Publishing newspapers is my lifelong passion and I am very excited about this technology,” Najacht said. “When I started working in newspapers, we were using hot metal. We advanced to using computers in 1975 and now we are ecstatic to introduce AR to our readers and advertisers.”

The Chronicle introduces AR in this issue. Instructions are given inside on how to acquire the app so you can see how the pages of your local newspaper come alive. Be sure to trigger Lynn’s Dakota-mart’s advertisement in this issue to see extra information available with your app. 

Those who need assistance are welcome to stop in at the Chronicle for help.

Najacht promises that the process is easy for readers. 

“If I can do it, anybody can,” he said.

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