Swedish Media Institute Prototypes E-newspaper Products

By: Steve Outing

The Institute for Media Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, a cooperative research organization funded by member media companies, has turned its gaze to Internet newspaper services. Its “Electronic Newspaper” research project has been running for more than a year now. Henrik Lundin of IMT recently reported in on the project’s progress.

“Our project with Electronic Newspapers has not had the ambition to thoughtlessly push something out on the Internet,” says Lundin. “We are evaluating how news material should look, to fit the production process, to easily be distributed and to effectively be consumed by the readers. In addition, we evaluate what information services there are that newspapers could produce to add value to the product.”

The project focuses much effort on how information is structured in an online environment. “Having a scientific approach to the problem of news that would be produced, distributed and presented online, we soon realized that the information had to be structured,” he says. “Now that is quite obvious to many, but I can assure you that it was not the case at the time we started to work with our prototype. We were among the first to connect a database to a World Wide Web server and evaluate the profits of that.”

The e-newspaper prototype is still being worked on. While I can’t point you to it on the Web, you can take a look at a spin-off project of the Electronic Newspapers research called [email protected]

This is a system for searching classified ads from three of Sweden’s largest daily newspapers. “This is just a small part of what our prototype can do, but exemplifies what we gain to put the information in a database,” Lundin says.

If you don’t speak Swedish, you’ll have a little trouble with this site. But the structure of the classified ads prototype is understandable despite the language barrier to non-Swedes. Information about the Institute on the IMT Web site is available in Swedish and English.

Henrik Lundin can be contacted at [email protected]

Another Asian paper

Here’s another newspaper online service to add to my column Friday about Asian newspapers online. The Korea Herald, an English-language daily in Seoul, has a Web service that’s been online since September 1995. Thanks to Grace Chung of Editor & Publisher, who learned about this service on a recent trip to Korea, for pointing this one out.

New journalism job listing service

The Florida Times Union (Morris Communications, USA) has created a new World Wide Web diversity journalism job bank as a public service. Anyone can use the free job bank, but the goal of the project is to increase participation in the media by minorities and women. Most of the jobs listed are currently traditional journalism positions.

Another excellent place to look for jobs online is Editor & Publisher Interactive’s classified ad listings. Go to the main E&P Interactive home page and click on Classifieds at the bottom of the page.

Arizona Central’s look on AOL

In a recent column about America Online, I talked about Phoenix Newspapers’ recently introduced Arizona Central area on America Online (the papers also operate a Web site), and noted that the design of the AOL flavor of Arizona Central was less visually attractive than the Web version. Let me clarify those comments, because I was viewing the AOL site using a Macintosh and AOL’s client software. Senior editor for information technology Howard Finberg points out that the Macintosh presentation of Arizona Central is currently inferior to what Windows AOL users see — a situation that should be rectified early next year when AOL upgrades its software for Macintosh users. Finberg says that in deciding to create Arizona Central page presentations that only Windows users can see in their full glory, “We made a decision based on 85% of the market (using Windows).”

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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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