A Brave New (Media) World

Comstock's goes digital with new iPad app

Back Commentary Mar 31, 2011 By Winnie Comstock-Carlson

I once thought magazines would forever be magazines: printed packages of well-researched text and eye-catching graphics that gave readers more in-depth coverage than newspapers or broadcast media could provide.

But today’s magazine is changing along with every other category of traditional media. New media such as online television and social networks stream content directly to smart phones, tablet computers, e-readers and laptops, giving us the ability to send and receive information instantly — and constantly — wherever we happen to be.

Comstock’s has taken a giant step into that new media future by becoming the first magazine in the country to pilot software by Inforgence America LLC, giving readers a multimedia magazine on their iPad tablet computers. The iPad is the logical platform right now, given its incredible presence in the market: An estimated 120 million iPads will make their way to users’ hands by the end of next year.

Viewing our magazine on an iPad is an amazing experience, like having radio, TV and a magazine all in one convenient form. Touch an article, and find additional text. Swipe a photo to enlarge it, see more or even hear audio. Touch an ad to view video explaining the advertiser’s products.

We began our transition to this new platform with the January 2011 issue. You can find it and later issues at the Apple App Store by simply searching for Comstock’s; from there, it’s a simple download. Every month we’ll be making more enhancements, adding content and links to our major articles, increasing our use of audio and video. By year’s end we’ll offer yearly subscriptions to those readers who find us only online.

This is one more step in the magazine’s evolving use of technology, which began two years ago with significant improvements to our website. It continues with our increasing use of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Check out our Facebook page to respond to reader surveys, see event photos, exchange ideas with fellow readers and follow ongoing local issues. Visit us on Twitter where we began just this fall to tweet real-time news updates, including on-the-spot reporting.

These changes give you, our readers, more ways to keep abreast of the major business, economic and social issues facing our region — and do it with greater timeliness, depth, connectivity and excitement than was possible even a year or two ago. Soon you’ll also be able to link to information more targeted to your specific interests: marketing ideas, investing methods, food and wine tips.

These changes give Comstock’s an opportunity to enhance the experience of our target readers — business and community leaders throughout the 10-county Capital Region — while also reaching a new audience. That includes younger readers who tend to use social media as their major channel for information, as well as interested individuals elsewhere in the country (or the world, for that matter) who want to stay abreast of events in the region; for example, those who have invested in local companies or own property here.

The new media world has sometimes seemed more puzzling or threatening to those not engaged with it. Now that we at Comstock’s have jumped fully into that world, we find it far from threatening. In fact, it is exciting and inspiring.

We hope you’ll join us there.

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