Last updated: February 20. 2013 3:48AM - 1193 Views

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The Times Leader launched its first app for the Windows 8 and Windows RT platform on Friday. It's believed to be the first media company in the state to do so.

The free app will work on desktop computers with Windows 8 installed, tablets with Windows 8 or Windows RT installed and mobile devices running Windows RT.

Nick DeLorenzo, director of interactive and new media for Impressions Media, parent company of The Times Leader, said work began on the app soon after The Times Leader won an Editor and Publisher EPPY award for the paper's mobile website.

We've won numerous awards over the past two years for web development from both the media and development communities, which sets us apart from the bulk of traditional media companies that struggle to maintain a web presence, DeLorenzo said.

At least one other Pennsylvania newspaper has a Windows Phone 8 app, which is a different application than what The Times Leader debuted last week. Assorted digital platforms had been a luxury for media companies. Now it's considered mandatory to give readers the most updated news during a 24-hour news cycle through a variety of channels.

Our digital strategy is to make sure that our readers have the ability to access the news quickly and easily no matter what type of device they have, DeLorenzo said. This is just another building block in that strategy. If publishers want to succeed in a digital environment, they have to understand how to both utilize and develop with these technologies. We've demonstrated that we have the core competencies to thrive in a digital environment.

The Windows 8/RT app allows users to access the news from the start screen of their computer or device, without needing to launch a web browser.

It's designed to be lightweight and simple to use, and employs a horizontal, as opposed to vertical layout, which is more in line with people's reading habits, DeLorenzo noted.

In addition to the Windows 8/RT apps, The Times Leader also has free apps on the Windows Phone 7 and 8, iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.

Additional apps for Impressions Media publications The Sunday Dispatch, The Weekender, The Dallas Post and The Abington Journal are in the works and should be available by early February.

Windows 8 was launched at the end of October, and according to The Times Leader's analytics of timesleader.com visitors, Windows 8 already is the fourth most used operating system of those accessing the website.

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