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UPDATED: The Signal launches 'The E' e-edition

Exact, fully interactive duplicate of print version and all publications now available online

Posted: November 6, 2009 3:50 p.m.
Updated: November 7, 2009 12:10 p.m.

Enter The E! It's The Signal's new e-ediiton, now available for current and new subscribers.

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The Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper, the No. 1 source for Santa Clarita Valley news in print and on the Web, officially launched an online e-edition Sunday, Nov. 8.

Dubbed "The E," The Signal's e-edition is a completely interactive digital duplicate of the paper, making The Signal even more portable and convenient. To find out more about The E, view the tutorial and find out about the FREE seven-day trial, visit thesignalEedition.com.

The E is easy to navigate and allows readers to jump right to the stories they want to read; magnify text and photos; print, e-mail or post stories to Facebook and other social media sites; search by name or topic; translate the text into another language; have stories read aloud; click-through links to Web sites and e-mail addresses in the text, and much more.

The E is accessible by 5:30 a.m. every day to subscribers using computers and mobile devices anywhere an Internet connection is available. The E will include all other special sections and niche publications in that day's Signal newspaper, among them Escape, the Santa Clarita Valley Business Journal, America's Kid Times, Health & Wellness and more. Favorite Signal comics, puzzles and games are also included and are now interactive.

"The E is designed to better meet reader and advertiser needs in an era when digital delivery is revolutionizing how people get their news and information," Signal Publisher Ian Lamont said.

"We recognize and embrace the generation of news readers and information seekers who prefer getting their content online, while on the go," Lamont said.

"Now, subscribers can choose exactly how they want to get their Signal - all print, all e-edition, a mix of both depending on the day, or both print and The E every day for the flexibility and convenience."

The E offers a robust and user-friendly platform featuring the speed of the Internet and the organization of a newspaper. "The E provides the layout of a traditional hard-copy newspaper while adding a number of enhanced features and functionality that are only possible online," Lamont said.

For example, when a reader rolls a mouse over any headline on the page, a preview balloon displays the headline and first few sentences of text, and one click opens up the entire story. One more click will magnify the text for easier reading.

All Web site addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers in articles and advertisements, as well as article jumps, are click-through links. "It's a terrific upgrade for advertisers and readers," Lamont said.

When readers click on a story headline, icons also pop up allowing readers to forward a story or photos via e-mail or share a story with social media friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and more.

Other options include saving and printing a story.

"This is a great service for readers when they are traveling, on vacation or are otherwise unable to get The Signal print edition," Lamont said. "The new, real-time dimension increases advertisers' reach and adds another convenient way for them to connect with customers."

Recognizing The E is a perfect companion to a seven-day home subscription, all current Signal print subscribers can add The E for just a penny more per day -- $3.65 for an entire year.

For new subscribers, there is a FREE seven-day trial offer to read The E online, and then a subscription to The E will be only $6.25 per month thereafter.

The Signal developed The E in conjunction with NewspaperDirect Inc., which produces e-editions for more than 750 newspapers and magazines from 80 countries around the world.

"The E does not replace The-Signal.com Web site, but is a perfect complement to it," said Signal Online Editor Stephen K. Peeples. "The-Signal.com will continue to offer content from the newspaper plus other content and interactive features unique to the Web site."

A month prior to The E's launch, Lamont invited key members of the community to try it out for a free test-drive, and the feedback from the early adopters has been overwhelmingly positive.

The following note sent to Lamont by Andy Pattantyus, principal of SCV-based company Strategic Modularity and a member of the Valley Industrial Association board, is typical:

"Congratulations to you and your team on the launch of The Signal's new e-edition. This is a huge step forward for The Signal. Welcome to the 21st century. Your online edition looks very attractive, even better than any other online newspaper I have read so far. This morning, I gave The E a full workout, on a laptop PC and also on a mobile smart phone.

"Verdict? It is easy and intuitive to use. The features work very well, even better than I had expected. I did sign up for a subscription to The E, so now I am keeping informed while saving trees."

The E's easy navigation
* As shown in the accompanying Features Summary, there are several different ways to quickly and easily jump from section to section, page to page, story to story.

* On The E's main page, readers will see two navigation toolbars -- one at the top of the window and another at the bottom.

* On the top toolbar, from the left, the Calendar allows access to back issues of The E.

* The Table of Contents button is a drop-down menu providing links to all pages of the current edition. The exact same Table of Contents also appears on the right side of The E's main page.

* Both Tables of Contents also include a link to Picture Gallery, where every photo used in the day's paper is displayed with captions and links to their related stories.

* On the far right side of The E's main window, the "View all thumbnails" option displays thumbnails of each page and links to them.

* To the left of the window are icons that link to the helpful Quick User Guide, The Signal's RSS feed and the Interactive Radio feature which reads a selected story aloud.

* The "Read Offline" button allows a reader to save The E to his or her desktop for offline reading. And the "Mobile" button allows users to send The E to a smart phone or other mobile device.

* The navigation toolbar at the bottom of the browser includes links to Help; page width adjustment (full screen, one-page or two-page views); the Picture Gallery; a magnify-view function; a zoom-in or zoom-out magnify view function; previous and next pages; print the entire page or a selected area; save The E to the desktop or another folder; bookmark the current page as a favorite; e-mail the page; and to add the page to a blog.

* Users may also turn pages by clicking on the tabs at top left and top right of each page.

The E's special features -- more details
* Advanced search: Readers can find articles from the current issue or past editions by searching for keywords. Search results will show thumbnails of the pages containing the original articles with the searched keyword plus the headlines, the first few sentences of text, and links to the pages. The keyword is prominently highlighted and flagged throughout the search result.

* Back issues: To access previous editions of The E going back to July 1, 2009, readers click on the Calendar button and click on the day of the edition to be viewed. Dates in bold indicate e-editions available to view.

* Offline reading: Save a copy of the entire paper to your desktop to read later using the PressReader application, which readers quickly download and install on first use.

* Mobile reading: Read The E on a smart phone or other mobile device. Click on the "Mobile" icon on the left side of the main page and follow the instructions for easy setup.

* Interactive radio: Hear the stories read aloud on The E's radio feature. In text view, click on the music note icon at the top of the article, or click on the "Listen" button just below the headline after opening the article. The selected article will then start to play on the computer or mobile device's default media player (Windows Media Player, QuickTime, iTunes, etc.).

* Printing: Print a single page, a single article, or a selected area of a page or article, by clicking on the "print" icon in the bottom toolbar. A dialog box will pop up, also allowing readers to choose the paper size (letter, legal, etc.). You have the option to print as text or as an image.

* Bookmarking: Add the page or story to your favorites for fast future access.

* Magnified reading: Click on a headline or story to make the type and images larger or smaller.

* Active links: All Web addresses and e-mail addresses in The E are active; phone numbers may also be set up to be dialed with a single click of a mouse. Article jumps from page to page are also linked.

* One- or two-page view: Toggle instantly between single-page or double-truck page views.

* Article sharing: Share the article with friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and other social media sites, as well as blogs (such as Blogger, LiveJournal, WordPress, Windows Live), and by e-mail.

* Picture Gallery: A separate gallery displays all the day's photos with captions and links to the related stories.

* Language translation: Read or hear The E in any one of up to 12 major languages - including Spanish -instantly. In text view, click on the "translate" button and select the language desired from the drop-down menu. To hear the article read aloud in the selected language, click the music note icon.

* RSS feed: In two easy steps, readers may receive The E's headlines and stories electronically. Choose to receive the feed for the front page (A1) only, or for the entire newspaper. After adding the RSS link to a browser reader (My Yahoo, MSN, etc.), a snippet of each story is displayed with a link back to The E for the rest of the text. (If the article is not from the paper's A1 front page, the reader must sign in before reading the entire article.)

* My Account: Readers may access their Signal e-edition account info at a glance online anytime, including user profile, subscription status, payment history, newspaper alert (notification when a chosen keyword appears in an article), credit card and other preferences.

The E's easy signup
* Go to thesignalEedition.com or go to The-Signal.com and click on the big green "E" icon in the top banner at the top right of the page.
* When the Subscription page opens, fill out the form with your name, billing address, daytime telephone number and e-mail address.
* Choose a unique user name.
* Select a method of secure payment (all major credit cards are accepted) and enter the credit card information.
* Choose the monthly option or the annual option.
* Once the transaction is approved, a confirmation e-mail will be sent with the chosen user name and a temporary password.
* On first login, readers may choose a new password (login and password should be noted and kept in a safe place for future reference).
* There will also be a link to download the PressReader software, a fast one-time installation.
* Open a Web browser, go to The-Signal.com's homepage, type your user name and password in the log-in fields and hit enter.
* Now, you'll instantly have complete access to the full range of The Signal e-Edition's features and interactive functionality.
* Morning cup o' Joe not included.

The E's downsides
While The E is a faithful and interactive online recreation of The Signal daily newspaper, there is one feature of the print edition that could not be duplicated online.

"Unlike the hard-copy paper, The E won't work as fish wrap, bird cage liner or puppy-training paper," Lamont quipped.

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