Thursday, June 6, 2013

Runner's World's July Newsstand edition published with enhanced coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings; publisher brings in agency skilled in the Adobe DPS, Priest+Grace, to create several interactive features

The July issue of Runner's World, the Rodale Inc. owned monthly magazine, is dedicated to coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings which took place April 15 of this year.

The magazine was in a unique position to cover the story, of course, as the annual Boston event is of huge importance to the magazine – the magazine featured a marathon guide on its January cover, and a half calendar on its February cover, for instance.

The digital version of the magazine (Runner's World) is built using the Adobe DPS and for TNM readers used to a far more progressive vision of the tablet magazines the July issue will initially disappoint.

The magazine opens to what at first appears to be merely an enhanced replica edition. While a hybrid tablet magazine leaves the print ads alone and reformats the editorial pages, Runner's World does little to reform its editorial content. To its credit it does modify the bottom page folios (though it really should simply eliminate them completely to add some room) it does not really do any more than add a few links that bring in out-of-app web content.

The worst part is probably the advertising that is completely replica, right down to two-pages spreads that must be swiped by the reader to see completely as the magazine, up until this point at least, is designed for portrait reading.

But things change dramatically one reaches the added content. The shift is dramatic: the reader is immediately told to turn their tablet to landscape to view the content. The main element are timelines that show the events as they unfold. The time line is clear and well designed and contains some embedded audio interviews. The reader then can move to the next section where a photo gallery takes advantage of the iPad's retina display. The features that follow include animation and video interviews.

All-in-all, the July issue is a dramatic example of what Runner's World can do with the tablet platform and one would hope would inspire the publishing team to reimagine their Newsstand application, taking advantage of the Adobe DPS to present readers with a more engaging and interactive reading experience.

Will readers respond? I believe so.

"The July issue amazed me. The videos and sound clips right on the page relevant to what you're reading is awesome! The picture quality is really good," writes the first reader review to appear since the July issue's release.

To create the timeline seen in the walk-through video below (about half way through the video the new interactive section starts) the publisher brought in a design agency well-versed in the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, Priest+Grace.

The agency created the five piece scrolling timelines with the embedded content. The agency also used Adobe Edge Animate to create the interactive map which shows the various tribute runs that have taken place since the bombings.