Posted by Kristen D. Smith
For its 2010 Halloween issue, the Kansas City Star had front page stories that leapt off the page. Literally. The Star jumped on the 3-D bandwagon. The special edition featured photos, illustrations and some headlines in 3-D. Each paper came with a pair of 3-D glasses, and the glasses could also be used to view photos on the website in 3-D.
There have been other newspapers across the world that have been published in 3-D. In the United Kingdom, The Sun released the first 3-D paper ever right before the 2010 soccer World Cup began in South Africa. Newspapers in China and Thailand have been published in 3-D as well. The Star is the first newspaper in its area to try such a stunt.
And I think it is just that: a stunt.
To stay in business, newspapers have been relying on specific groups of loyal readers. The State of the News Media, associated with the Pew Research Center, conducted a survey in 2008 of daily newspaper readership by age group. It showed that 65 percent of respondents 65-years-old and older read the newspaper daily, compared to 30 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds who read the paper daily.
While trying to encourage people to pick up a newspaper nowadays by putting a little technology-like spin on it seems like a decent idea, I think it was also done to spark the interests of advertisers. A lot of ads for the Oct. 31 issue of the paper were sold in 3-D.
However, the eye-popping ads and 3-D photographs did not have the desired affect on readers.
Younger people were not as impressed with the paper’s attempt to be modern, because they are so used to much flashier items of technology. Older people were frustrated with the experimental edition, mostly because it made it more difficult for them to read it.
Bloggers shared their thoughts about the Star’s 3-D issue, giving largely negative feedback. A couple of blogs have comments from readers who even claimed they were going to cancel their Kansas City Star subscriptions because of the special edition.
Do you think this was a good attempt to bring readers back to the world of print news? Do you think the Star had any other motives for doing the 3-D edition?