Herald-Mail launches Web site

November 18, 1996


Staff Writer

A new era in Hagerstown's daily newspapers begins today with the introduction of The Herald-Mail Co.'s site on the World Wide Web -

"I think the Web is a great opportunity to be a complementary service to the newspaper," said Herald-Mail Editor and Publisher John League.

The site features point-and-click access to news stories, photographs, sports, weather forecasts and general newspaper information.

Cybersurfers also can find a cookbook, wedding announcements, obituaries and archives of award-winning stories and photographs.

Newspapers throughout the country are using the Internet to enhance their traditional paper-and-ink product, representing a great change in a business that has been producing and distributing its product with very little change over hundreds of years.


"It's a different means of delivery, but we're still providing information," League said. also will offer a lot of opportunity for people in the community to talk to each other and to the newspaper staff online, said Gloria George, executive editor.

Plans call for the introduction of a variety of bulletin board forums for readers to discuss and debate various issues. One forum was tested Election Day and another called "Sports Talk" is offered now in the Sports section.

"We are aiming to make this kind of a meeting place for the community," said Derrick Miller, a member of The Herald-Mail's computer staff, who is responsible the site's development, from content concepts to technical programming.

Amy Neterer has primary responsibility for designing the site's pages and special sections, such as the cookbook. Mike Montgomery designed the site's sports pages and updates news, weather and sports on a daily basis.

"The key to any good Web site is it must be updated regularly and it must be as interactive as you can make it," said League.

League said the one advantage a Web site has is that it is virtually limitless in the amount of space it has for content, unlike a newspaper that has a specific number of pages each day.

For example, a story based on a study or report could include the complete document or other research materials with the story.

"Electronically, there is information we can offer (on the Web) that we cannot offer in our news pages, or is difficult to offer in our news pages," he said.

The Herald-Mail site is updated once a day. League said that would increase as the popularity and use of the site increases. The ultimate goal would be to update the site as news happens.

"It's an information service. It gives us the ability to offer news the minute it happens," Miller said.

Because access to the site is free to anyone using the World Wide Web, there will be efforts to sell advertising on the site to offset the cost, League said.

"It has to pay its own way, not initially, but eventually," he said.

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