Help Us Name the Best Online Newspaper Services

By: Steve Outing

Now that the newspaper new media business has matured a bit, and more than 600 newspapers worldwide operate online services, the newspaper industry is producing some compelling online content. With that in mind, Editor & Publisher and The Kelsey Group are announcing today the first Best Online Newspaper Services Competition for 1996.

The competition will serve to recognize the most outstanding online services created by the newspaper industry. We hope to further the advancement of this burgeoning new business line for newspapers by spotlighting creative uses of the online medium in creating news products and services. The winners will light the way for other publishers to advance to the next level of excellence and consumer acceptance.

Winners will be announced on February 24, 1996, at the Kelsey Group/Editor & Publisher Interactive Newspapers conference in San Francisco, California.

Awards will be given out in 8 categories to newspaper companies operating online services. Each award, honoring a service that excels in a particular area, will have 2 winners: an online service produced by newspapers with print circulation above 100,000, and a service of papers with under-100,000 print circulation.

A ninth award will recognize the best online news service created by a non-newspaper company. While the E&P/Kelsey awards are primarily in recognition of the best new media work being produced by the newspaper industry, we fully recognize that in the online world many types of organizations are creating news products and services — competing media, entrepreneurs, software companies, wire services, information services, etc.

Colin Phillips, co-publisher of Editor & Publisher, said of the competition, “This is an important event for Editor & Publisher. Newspapers have historically served as the central interactive medium for local communities. The collective expertise of the newspaper industry is one of the most critical factors in the development of interactive information services”

We invite you to nominate entrants to the competition by filling out a nomination form telling us who you think produces the best online newspaper service in each category. You may nominate your own company’s online venture or someone else’s. A single newspaper can be entered in multiple categories. The competition is open to all online newspaper services around the world. Nomination deadline is January 24, 1996.

Once the nominations are compiled, they will be handed over to a panel of judges who will make the final selections. Judges at this date include:

* Ben Compaine, chairman, Center for Information Industry Research, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
* David Carlson, director of Interactive Media Lab, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA.
* Neil Chase, assistant professor, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
* Bill Densmore, president, Newshare Corp., Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.
* Howard Finberg, senior editor/information technology, Phoenix Newspapers, Arizona, USA.
* Robin Hunt, journalist, The New Media Lab, The Guardian, London, England.
* Steve Outing, president, Planetary News LLC, Boulder, Colorado, USA (online publishing consultant and author of this column).
* Nora Paul, The Poynter Institute, St. Petersburg, Florida, USA.
* Madanmohan Rao, Inter Press Agency, New York, USA.
* Bill Skeet, chief designer, Knight-Ridder New Media Lab, San Jose, California, USA.
* Norbert Specker, CatchUp Communications, Zurich, Switzerland.
* Milverton Wallace, City University, London, England.
* Peter Winter, acting CEO, New Century Network, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

In addition to the recognition of your peers, competition winners will receive awards donated by Apple Computer, Netscape Communications and Editor & Publisher.

I wish you luck and ask that you submit a nomination for your own newspaper online service as well as for others that you think worthy of recognition. The nomination form is at http://www.mediainfo.com/contest.form.html.

Waldholtz saga plays out online

The Salt Lake Tribune has a big story playing out in its back yard this week. Utah Congresswoman Enid Greene Waldholtz held a tearful 4-hour news conference in Salt Lake City on Monday claiming that she had been duped by her estranged husband, who allegedly falsified campaign finance records to buy his wife’s way into the U.S. House of Representatives and enrich himself. Utah Online editor John Jordan reports on how the Tribune used its online service to provide extensive coverage of the breaking story:

“We had a court recorder transcribe the entire news conference and had most of it on our Web site (Monday) night. The court reporter is still finishing some statements by her attorneys at this time (Tuesday). In addition, we built a list of pertinent stories from our archive for readers to view.”

This is another example of how an online presence can enhance and supplement a newspaper’s print coverage when a big story breaks — free of the constraints of a limited print newshole. Printing the full transcript of the marathon news conference in the paper edition would have been impossibly expensive, and a silly editorial decision considering the limited number of readers actually interested enough to read the entire thing. But the cost of publishing the whole thing online is minuscule, and well serves those readers who can’t get enough information on an important story.

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Presented 5 days a week by Steve Outing, Planetary News LLC.
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This column is written by Steve Outing and underwritten by Editor & Publisher magazine. Tips, letters and feedback can be sent to Steve at [email protected]

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