Smell the changes coming to newsprint

Published 9:40 am Monday, April 1, 2013

Column: Thanks for Listening, by Scott Schmeltzer

The last few months, the Tribune management team has been focusing on ways to utilize our printed product, but still deliver some high-tech innovations.

Throughout the news industry, different media are finding new ways to be interactive with their readers. Our websites include video, but for print products like the Tribune, interactivity is tough to include. We can’t offer flashy graphics and video like on our website, and we can’t speed up the background music to make our newscasts sound more exciting like radio and TV do, so our management team decided it was time to resort to some drastic measures.

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Terry Thissen, our press production director, brought back some literature from a recent trade show he went to that introduced us to ONA Press Solutions, a company out of Little Rock, Ark., that manufactures the machines used by the scratch-and-sniff sticker industry. It’s really quite a simple and inexpensive process: an additional roller on a press produces what’s called a “micro-fragrance coating” over a designated area on a specific page.

This week, the first scratch-and-sniff ad has been included in the Tribune. We offered this at no additional cost to the advertiser, because we believe it’s a service our readers deserve. If you turn to Page 2, scratch the ad that showcases Ultimate Hearing and sniff you’ll notice the faint but distinct smell of jelly beans. According to Terry, it’s one of the easiest micro-fragrance coatings to produce, because fruit was one of the first fragrances offered in newsprint. Go check it out and come back to the column.

We’re planning to offer the micro-fragrance coating not only in ads, but for full pages as well.

Businesses can sponsor entire front pages. I happen to know from talking with our advertising director, Crystal Miller, that having a micro-fragrance coating will be a wonderful addition to the paper as we can then have a page smell like a pizza with all of the toppings. Our press department is still working on the chemical mix to replicate the smell of cotton candy so we can have it for fair time.

For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, today is April Fools’ Day, also known as my favorite holiday.

Did I get any of you?

Did you smell the jelly beans yet?

As many of you know I have a sense of humor, and it really helps in the newspaper business. I hope it made you smile.

So, just to set the record straight, there will not be scratch-and-sniff pages coming to the Tribune because they have not been invented yet. But it would be a cool concept.


Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column usually appears every Thursday.