By: Editorial Staff
MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE readers with modem-equipped PCs will have an electronic adjunct to their daily newspaper this winter when the daily launches Star Tribune Online.
The service will be available over the Interchange Network Co., a new division of Ziff-Davis Publishing Co., chosen for technology that offers superior search capabilities and responsiveness, according to Star Tribune vice president and editor Tim McGuire, who is also general manager of his company’s Reader Customer Unit.
Star Tribune Online editor and manager Steve Yelvington credited Ziff’s new on-line network with creating an environment that allows the electronic newspaper to retain the look and feel of the printed newspaper.
As an Interchange Network service, Star Tribune Online will be able to incorporate information and services from Ziff-Davis’s own Interchange On-line Network. Ziff features include stock quotes, personal finance, sports and television program information (E&P, April 9, p. 40).
The newspaper said Star Tribune Online is expected to cost less than $15 per month. For an additional fee, users will gain access to Interchange Online Service special-interest areas, including computer information and downloadable software. New York-based Ziff-Davis is among the premier computer magazine publishers. Interchange members also will have e-mail access to the Internet.
Former assistant managing editor Robert Schafer, who most recently served as new products leader for the Reader Customer Unit, was named Star Tribune Online publisher. According to Schafer, Ziff’s technology will allow automatic daily searches for news tailored to each subscriber’s interests. Appropriate information will then be assembled for easy retrieval by the user.
Text and image content of Star Tribune Online will be broader and deeper than that of the printed newspaper. Local information will include a guide to the Twin Cities, entertainment listings and events calendars. The service also will allow electronic searching of the newspaper’s classified ads, access to news that will appear in the next day’s edition of the printed paper, and use of bulletin boards for subscribers to communicate among themselves.
Initially, Star Tribune Online will be ready to users of IBM PCs and compatibles (386-based models or higher) with 9600-baud modems and running Microsoft Windows 3.1 software. The newspaper said a version for the Macintosh will be available “later in 1995.”