Fort Worth Paper Ditches DFW.com

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The Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram announced Tuesday that it is reclaiming its name online and will no longer operate under DFW.com, the regional portal created by Knight Ridder in June 1999. The newspaper’s URL is once again www.star-telegram.com.

Using a common acronym for the nearby cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, DFW.com was designed to be a regional portal in partnership between the Star-Telegram and Belo’s Dallas Morning News. “Originally, both papers were to contribute content to DFW.com while continuing to operate their separate Web sites,” said Craig Diebel, general manager of Star-Telegram.com and a 23-year employee of the newspaper. That arrangement didn’t last very long, he said, as both Knight Ridder and Belo changed their Internet strategies.

When Knight Ridder Digital completed its uniform publishing platform in January of this year, Star-Telegram.com ceased to exist as an independent site, with users redirected to DFW.com. But since the departure of KRD President Dan Finnigan in April, local Knight Ridder newspapers have been reasserting their autonomy over local Web sites.

In Fort Worth, there wasn’t great affinity for DFW.com, said Diebel, pointing to residents’ pride in their city and the competitive spirit with Dallas. “The feedback [to the name change] has all been positive,” he said.

In a Tuesday story explaining the change, Star-Telegram Executive Editor Jim Witt said: “We get to control our own destiny.”

Diebel said his staff will now concentrate on improved navigation and more local content updated more frequently.

The Dallas Morning News is still a partner in Knight Ridder’s Real Cities network, which sells national advertising across multiple cities. DallasNews.com links to other Real Cities sites from its home page.

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