Joining the Web World From Vladivostok, Russia

By: Steve Outing

The Internet reaches most parts of the globe, though some parts of the world are more “wired” than others, of course. In the eastern-most part of Russia, two newspapers are finding their way onto the World Wide Web, with the help of a Tacoma, Washington, newspaper and a grant from the U.S. government.

Jonathan Nesvig, a wire editor for the News-Tribune in Tacoma, has been working for the last 18 months with the Vladivostok News, an English-language newspaper, producing a Web version of the News which is hosted on the News-Tribune’s servers. (It’s at http://vlad.tribnet.com/.) Now, thanks to a $100,000 U.S. AID (Agency for International Development) grant, the News’ parent newspaper, the Russian-language Vladivostok, and the News will go online with a server based in Vladivostok. When the Vladivostok goes live on the Web next month, it will be the first Russian daily to do so, Nesvig says.

Nesvig became interested in Vladivostok in 1991 when he accompanied a Tacoma delegation to the Russian port city as a reporter. During that trip he became acquainted with the editor of the Vladivostok and agreed to an exchange of reporters and stories with the Tacoma News-Tribune. In April 1995, with the help of Tacoma writer Jeff Bond, who was working in Vladivostok as part of the exchange program, a Web edition of the Vladivostok News was launched, with Bond e-mailing stories to Tacoma. “It was rather primitive,” Nesvig says. “There were no sections, home page or photos. It was just text on a page.”

Last October, a Web home page was created for the News, and the first ad was sold to help support the experiment. Nesvig took over HTML coding duties in Tacoma, and the online newspaper was enhanced to include four sections. In February, the Vladivostok staff learned how to send photos by e-mail and they were added to the pages.

In March, the newspaper was awarded the U.S. AID grant, which paid for the equipment to run its own site and for five Vladivostok staff members to travel to Tacoma for Web training. The News-Tribune, which has assisted in the project but did not receive any grant money, provided a week of training for the Russians in June. During the training week, the Vladivostok News redesigned its Web site, as well.

Now, the Vladivostok newspaper does its own HTML programming and sends pages and photographs to Tacoma. Nesvig says a leased Internet data line will be installed soon, and the two newspapers will be online from Vladivostok.

The Vladivostok Web project will be featured in the third New Media for a New World conference, which will be held October 15-17 in Vladivostok. The conference is expected to attract about 80 Russian publishers and journalists, many of whom know little about the Internet yet are eager to learn more about what the rest of the publishing world is so excited about.

Contact: Jonathan Nesvig, nesvig.jonathan@m.tribnet.com

Fidler moves to Kent State

Roger Fidler, former director of Knight-Ridder’s now defunct Information Design Laboratory (Boulder, Colorado) and proponent of portable flat-panel displays as the “newspaper of the future,” has taken a teaching position at Kent State University in Ohio. He stepped into his first class last week, “Media, Power and Culture.”

Fidler also will be helping to coordinate a tablet publishing research project funded by a grant from the state of Ohio, and he will be working closely with Kent State’s Liquid Crystal Institute to produce a prototype display. “There’s lots of positive support for the tablet vision here,” he says.

The Liquid Crystal Institute, established in 1965, is the nation’s only center devoted solely to basic and applied research on liquid crystals. The liquid crystal technology that changed the face of the modern wristwatch was invented at the LCI.

Fidler has been working on a book on the future of media, “Mediamorphosis: Understanding New Media,” for some time. It is now in production, published by Pine Forge Press, and will be available in January 1997.

Contact: Roger Fidler, fidler@usa.net

New editorial director at E&P Interactive

Hoag Levins today joins Editor & Publisher Interactive (publisher of this column), in the newly created position of editorial director of Editor & Publisher’s new media division. Levins is an experienced Web developer, syndicated columnist, reporter and book author. He spent 12 years as a staff reporter with the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer, and the Courier Post of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. His latest book is “American Sex Machines: The Engineering History of Sex at the U.S. Patent Office,” a serious research work about the evolution of sexual and social mores from the 1840s to the present as documented by Patent Office files.

In addition to Levins’ appointment, E&P’s new media division has made some other staff changes. Vice president of new media Dennis O’Neill has added new business development to his sales and marketing duties. Kim McGalliard has been named Webmaster of the E&P Web site. And Seth Zupnik, assistant research manager, has taken over CD-ROM technical development.

Contacts: Hoag Levins, levins@tigger.jvnc.net
Dennis O’Neill, denniso@mediainfo.com

Radelfinger leaves E&P for MMD post

Martin Radelfinger has left Editor & Publisher Interactive to become vice president of market development for MMD (Multi Media Development), a subsidiary of the Swiss publishing/advertising giant Publicitas, heading up its New York office. At E&P, Radelfinger was vice president of new media and was responsible for development of the Editor & Publisher Interactive Web site, the E&P Members Network premium Web service, and developed E&P’s international conference business.

MMD is a services company focusing on all aspects of commercial communication in new media. Its services include consulting, conception, design, programming, hosting, promotion, advertising sales, online media planning and online media management.

Contact: Martin Radelfinger, mradel@ix.netcom.com

Movin’ On

Mike Liebhold has left Times-Mirror, where he was chief technology officer, to join Netscape Communications as acting director of media and publishing strategic relations (a.k.a., “content evangelist”). In his new role, Liebhold will be helping media companies successfully implement Netscape’s technology. He has been involved with Netscape since its start-up, since Times-Mirror was an early investor in the company.

Contact: Mike Liebhold, mnl@netscape.com

Steve

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This column is written by Steve Outing exclusively for Editor & Publisher Interactive. Tips, letters and feedback can be sent to Steve at steve@planetarynews.com

The views expressed in the above column do not necessarily represent the views of the Editor & Publisher company.

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