Turkish Daily Brings the Newspaper to Life
The past decade has not been kind to newspapers. Many people have turned to online sources for constantly updated content, including video and audio commentary that newspapers haven’t historically delivered.
One newspaper in Turkey has found a way to combine the authority of print with the dynamic content only available online. The Turkish daily, Haberturk (HT), began its transformation in January 2015, as the staff covered the assault on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Editor in chief, Selçuk Tepeli, had access to a video that would augment his paper’s coverage of the shooting, but he had no way to broadcast it. In the end, it ran on another outlet. The loss of such compelling supplementary information made him and his director of digital marketing, Selin Pişkiner, determined to find a more innovative way to enrich HT’s content.
Bridging Print and Digital
Digimarc technology provided a solution. Using the Digimarc Discover mobile software development kit (SDK), HT developed HT Dokun, a mobile app that lets readers scan images throughout the newspaper enhanced with Digimarc Barcodes, imperceptible codes that enable readers to access supplementary online content from their mobile devices.
"Our newspaper had the potential to become a 24-hour, current, live source of information,” Tepeli said. “The Digimarc-based application now allows us to continually update breaking stories as well as maintain our original mandate to serve as an immutable record of events."
"Our newspaper had the potential to become a 24-hour, current, live source of information. The Digimarc-based application now allows us to continually update breaking stories as well as maintain our original mandate to serve as an immutable record of events."
Creating a Living Newspaper
All 50 of the paper’s graphic designers, with varying degrees of technical proficiency, were trained to incorporate the codes in their designs, and the editors learned various ways they could amplify their stories with other kinds of content beyond the written word.
The HT app allows readers to go beyond what is written in a multitude of ways. Besides being able to see photos and watch videos related to stories, readers can have the phone dictate the news to them, translate what they’re reading into English and share it on social media, access more background material on stories, and even interact with reporters and writers. The newspaper comes alive. News is updated during the day, and the varied formats make it easier for readers to stay abreast of the latest developments.
"It became a competition among the staff, to find or create the best video to go with a story, including submissions from the public," Pişkiner said. "And the app also provides us with important insights, because the analytics give constant feedback about which stories and added content are the most popular."
Cultivating a New Kind of "Reader"
In the first month live, HT, which has a circulation of about 200,000, registered 25,000 scans by 9,000 unique users on the HT Dokun app. Tepeli and Pişkiner expect those numbers to go up as more people hear about and download the app and then discover the richness of the additional content.
Among the most popular draws have been off-the-cuff interviews with celebrities, which staff members shoot with their phones. Another recent hit, as the highly ranked Turkish soccer team travelled to Qatar to play its national team, was a cue to HT readers to return to the paper later in the day; at that point, a photo enhanced with Digimarc Barcode took them to live coverage by an HT reporter hanging out with the players as they warmed up before the match.
Much has been made of the struggles of newspaper publishers to appeal to a younger audience accustomed to digital content. Rather than join the masses proclaiming the “death” of the traditional newspaper, HT has shown that with a little creative thinking and the right technology solution, the newspaper has never been more alive.