Ideas for Saving Newspapers: All-Day Interactive Content

Clearly, newspapers are best when readers have lots of time. And newspapers know they need to have content for the five-minute reader. But how about being multi-tasking friendly? What kind of content could you enjoy while you’re watching TV? Eating dinner with the family? Driving? Out on a date? (Patience: Asking dumb questions sometimes leads to new insights. I’m winging this.) The ridiculously dangerous-sounding driving part suggests audio, which suggests radio (a station that reads you the best stories?) or newspaper-on-CD (which you’d download before driving). But those aren’t paper. Could you have a scanner that plays codes printed on paper? You take a picture of the page on your cellphone, and some service translates/relays content to your radio! Or you have a kind of voice mail system: “Select the story you’d like to hear. … Say “skip” to move to your next choice.” Watch, this kind of thing has to happen. The dinner table? It’s rude to ignore the family, but why can’t content be engineered to maximize socializing? Party games do this. So why not have a daily puzzle that’s like a family party game? Trivia questions? Puzzling pictures: Can you guess what this is a close-up of? Can you tell which two celebrities this face is a composite of? Date-worthy matter is even more of a challenge, but what if you had a daily personality quiz? Or Dating Idea of the Day? Or an Ask a Friend box next to today’s advice column: What would you do … (answer tomorrow.) While watching TV? Somehow this has to be either TV-related content (like about the show) or something mindless like doodling. Oh, how about a follow-along clue-gathering list? You write down all five clues, call in your “whodunit” guess and win money. Shows like Treasure Hunters already have “you can win at home” segments. Why couldn’t such content be part of a newspaper Interactive Games section/page? The more way newspapers fit / feed more parts of a day (which means more interactive content), the more readers will return. Anybody still sell papers outside baseball parks with handy forms for scoring the plays? Ought to be pared-down sporting event editions not just with articles and stats but fill-in-the-blanks stuff for taking notes. (Give teams a cut to sell them inside, too.)

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