The Washington Times unveiled Friday its new National Digital Edition targeted to its growing national audience and specifically designed to work on smartphones and tablets.
The subscription app uses state-of-the-art technology to create a magazinelike reading environment that will enable customers to stay up-to-date on breaking news stories while reading in-depth news and commentary. Video, audio and digital interactives can launch directly within stories.
Readers also will get the chance starting next month to earn money toward their subscription by clicking on specialized ads. A subscription costs as little as 11 cents a day and can be purchased in daily, weekly, monthly or annual packages. Customers can sign up for a 30-day, free trial of the new app at http://twtfreetrial.com.
“The new National Digital Edition is ground-breaking,” said Larry Beasley, chief executive officer of The Times. “Its technology is cutting edge and its depth and ease-of-use will be a boon to all kinds of readers throughout the U.S. and around the world.”
“The Washington Times is a leader in producing scoops and news-you-need-know-about in Washington and from around the world,” said John Solomon, editor of The Times. “For years, we’ve been able to deliver our newspaper to doorsteps in the D.C. market. Now we can also distribute our newspaper nationwide to the new digital doorstep via the vast new mobile device marketplace.”
The Times national audience has been growing rapidly outside the Washington area market in 2013. In October, more than 10 million readers accessed Times content in print or online in markets outside Virginia, Maryland and the District, Mr. Solomon said.
The National Digital Edition is currently optimized to work on the iPad, iPhone, Mac desktop and Windows PCs, but also works on scores of other devices that have regular browsers, such as many Android tablets and phones. The app is expected to be offered in the Apple store later this year, and by the first of the year be optimized for a larger universe of Android devices as well.
The National Digital Edition includes the best news, opinion, columns, political coverage, sports stories and blogs from The Times’ daily print edition as well as its citizen journalism portal called Washington Times Communities, but is updated throughout the day with breaking news. It features two separate photo “covers” that showcase the best of the newspaper’s news and opinion content.
The app also offers original content not available on the Times’ free website or the daily print edition, such as exclusive newsmaker interviews, a weekly column from Michelle Malkin, op-eds from members of Congress, and exclusive content from the newsroom.
It also offers a robust offering of multimedia, including a carousel of the Times’ best editorial cartoons and original video programming anchored by The Times’ new TV anchor Alex Swoyer.
On weekends starting in mid-November, it will feature expanded sports coverage as well as a digital version of the weekly shopping circulars from major retailers that used to be dropped on driveways in a print format but now will be offered in an interactive format on cell phones and tablets.
“We’ve tried to rekindle the intimate reading experience of the heyday of newspapers and magazines, from the big photo cover to the weekly shopping ads. But by bringing our content to the tablet and cellphone, we can now offer readers a four-dimensional interactive experience using today’s best technology,” Mr. Solomon said. “With the National Digital Edition, readers’ news experience doesn’t have to end with the last word of a story. It can blossom and grow through interactive experiences. And readers can even earn money toward their subscription by supporting our advertisers.”
To build the app, the Times partnered with some of the technology world’s brightest stars, including world-renowned Web designer Roger Black, the Italian-based digital publishing company Savory, and the e-commerce company Net Change.