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Phone app 'translates' newspapers for kids

Feb. 7, 2013 at 7:14 PM   |   Comments

TOKYO, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A Japanese newspaper says it has created a smartphone app to "translate" its content into child-friendly articles, complete with animations and explanations.

The Tokyo Shimbun, one of the Japan's largest-circulation daily newspapers, worked with advertising firm Dentsu to create the AR News app that allows children to hold a smartphone over the newspaper to see a child-friendly version of the text.

Dentsu has released a promotional video presenting the app as a way to "create a future for the old-media newspaper."

"Newspapers were not made for children," the video says. "If newspapers became readable to children, they will contribute to family communication and child's education."

In the video, as a child holds his smartphone over the page, cartoon characters appear on the screen to explain the stories.

One British journalism expert lauded the idea.

"What it's really about is something that's been talked about for a long time, about content being presented in different ways depending on who the user is," Paul Bradshaw, who blogs on new technology in journalism, told the BBC.

"It means two versions of the content -- a grown-up one and the kids one. That has enormous potential. It also tackles a big gap in young readership."

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