Standard-Examiner e-edition offers readers more options

Apr 23 2010 - 11:29pm

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Every month we give out awards for the best work done by staffers. The awards, called Green Eyeshades, are divided into three categories: writing, visuals (photos, videos and certain illustrations), and presentation (page design, informational graphics and illustrations).

The eyeshades themselves are symbolic of the days when editors wore such headgear to cut down the glare of bright lights in the newsroom. Our awards, though, have evolved a long way from those old eye-straining days of linotype.

Recently we gave an award for best page design for something that was never printed.

Matt Gerrish, a sports paginator/copy editor, won the March presentation award for a special "NBA Insider" section he put together for our e-edition.

The section included articles about NBA attendance, Michael Jordan as an owner and how long Phil Jackson might coach. The pages also included graphs, statistics and lists.

Like most newspapers, our e-edition is an electronic facsimile of the printed edition, with pdfs of each page that is printed. Subscribers to the e-edition see the pages as they appeared in print on their computers and can click on various stories to bring up text versions to read, scan the pages and zoom in on specific content.

But unlike other newspapers, we publish more pages in our e-edition than are available in print, so subscribers get more than just an electronic duplication of the print edition.

For instance, on Fridays we publish an extra opinion section called Currents, which features opinion columns and special commentary. The section includes a page called Standard Works, which features an original cartoon by Cal Grondahl and commentary that has a Mormon theme.

On different days during the week we publish an Insight section that includes features and in-depth profiles that we don't have room for in the print edition.

The sad economic reality is that newsprint costs have continued to increase while print revenue has declined. Rather than charging upwards of $50 a month for the newspaper, adding pages to the e-edition allows us to give readers more complete and interesting coverage without increasing print costs. Most of the stories included in these special sections are not available on our free StandardNet Live! website.

Most of the 10,000 subscribers to our e-edition are hybrids, subscribing to a print option, mostly on weekends, and the daily e-edition access.

We've discovered through our analytics that those who read the e-edition average more than 30 page views per visit. That is about 10 times greater than the average visitor to our free site, or most other free news sites.

With new technology developing every day, such as the iPad, Kindle and pretty soon, e-ink paper (a metallic sheet that operates like an interactive screen), we feel the e-edition may become more of an option for our readers. We hope by putting in place the mechanisms to expand the e-edition, we are better prepared to meet the demands new technology will bring.

Andy Howell is executive editor. He can be reached at (801) 625-4210 or via e-mail at ahowell@standard.net.

Article and demo of e-ink: The Page: e-ink newspaper concept takes eReading to another level.  

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