Interactive Newsprint brings together communities and academic partners from Dundee, Surrey and UCLan to develop and test a new idea for community news based on digital interactive paper.

Volunteers examine the project’s first prototype

What are we doing?

In order for communities to meet the new governments’ objectives of becoming more resilient, self reliant and ultimately self-funded and governed, they need a step-change in the way they communicate. In a previous digital economy project (Bespoke) we have shown the potential of conventional print and web media for encouraging new forms of community news, communication and social engagement. In this project we plan to extend and apply this work by developing an entirely new platform for community news based on interactive newsprint.

This is enabled by developments in printed electronics which now allow various digital devices and interfaces to be built into paper documents, including audio storage, speakers, microphones, buttons, sliders, led displays, colour changing fibres, led text displays and mobile communication. While there are many possible configurations and uses of this technology for supporting new forms of reading and writing, we plan to explore those relating to the communication of local news. Existing forms of local journalism and content will be used to develop a range of interactive paper documents and test them out in both a lab and field setting. This will explore new forms of digital storytelling and more effective ways of connecting communities to local news and information.

Printed and Plastic Electronics is an emerging technology that has very recently reached a point of application to the news industry. Interactive Newsprint will establish robust use models and interface techniques specific to local newsprint that could boost electronics sales and help rejuvenate the news industry. For the end user community, interactive print could bring local content and internet services to digitally excluded families, and also facilitate completely new kinds of lightweight communication within and between community groups.

Participants from across Preston at our first workshop

When will this all happen?

This project has started. Right now we need community reporters to create stories for the project. The community reporters will receive training which will be delivered either in a community centre near you – at the University or at Preston FM on Fox street in Preston.


What’s in it for me?

Researchers are often asked this question and it’s usually quite a difficult one to answer directly. However, in this case the answer is fairly straight forward depending on whether you’re a ‘Community Reporter’, ‘Prototyper’ or ‘Reader’.

Community reporters

Preston FM and UCLan trained community reporter interviewing at a local fun day

Community reporters will receive training in storytelling as well as hands on training in how to use some of the latest digital storytelling technology like mobile phones and small video cameras.

  • They’ll have access to expertise and facilities at the university
  • They will be encouraged to develop the interactive community newspaper as a small business opportunity which they may be able to make money out of eventually.
  • They’ll be part of a growing network of community reporters.
  • They’ll have a ‘platform’ to express themselves creatively in sound, text and image



  • Through taking part in professional high quality user tests you will influence and change the way interactive newsprint works.
  • Will be part of a highly creative project which will be of interest nationally and internationally.



  • You will receive a copy of the interactive newsprint community newspaper connecting you to what’s going on in your neighbourhood.
  • You will (if required) have access to a free wireless network in your home throughout the testing period of the interactive community newspaper.
  • You will influence and change the way interactive newsprint works through feeding back to the project via community reporters.
  • You may choose to be a member of the community editorial board who decide on who best to cover stories in your neighbourhood and share information with each other.

Whatever your role as a volunteer we will need you to sign what we call a consent form that shows you understand what the project is about and that you are clear about how any of your contributions might be used in this project. Hopefully, you’ll benefit personally from being involved too.

You’ll be able to track what is happening on the project through this website.

Novalia University of Surrey University of Central Lancashire University of Dundee Digital Economy 3ManFactory