August 16, 2001

Memphis Democrat Enters Internet Era With Debut Of New Web Page

After several months in the planning and production stage, www.memphisdemocrat.com has finally gone online effective August 13. The Internet newspaper is being made available through a joint effort of the newspaper staff and the folks at Skyhouse Consulting, an Internet-based web site designer located in the Dancing Rabbit community near Rutledge.

The newspaper had been advertising the future availability of a web site since June. Skyhouse Consulting had completed the construction of the site at that time but the uploading of files and other information took longer than expected for the newspaper staff.

The basic plan for the web site calls for the weekly news to be updated by Thursday afternoon of each week. However some big stories and late breaking news will be available on the web site before publication in the weekly paper.

"We hope the web site will be an added tool for our newspaper to keep the community informed," said owner Chris Feeney. "Some newspapers view web sites as competition for subscriptions and paper sales but we hope this site will only enhance the popularity of our product."

The site will focus on only a small portion of the actual newspaper's content, meaning it will by no way replace the hard copy.

"The web site should give viewers a jump start on the week's news, but in no way is it meant to replace the real thing," Feeney said. "That's one thing we had to consider when making the decision to go online, as we obviously cannot allow the site to have an adverse affect on subscriptions. We look at it as just another medium for us to relay the news to our readers."

Not only will the web site keep you up to date on the latest breaking local news, it will also serve as a resource for past stories. The Memphis Democrat index will feature stories dating back to May of 2001 and will keep these articles available on line to serve as a research tool.

Currently the Memphis Democrat site will offer the paper's main news stories, sports coverage, obituaries and the classified advertisement section. Advertising will be available on the web site with special opportunities for businesses with their own web sites to link to the page with advertising buttons.

"Anyone with a commercial web site can link to our web site for a small monthly fee," Feeney said. "The advertising link will take the browser directly to the advertiser's web site."

Other features of the web site will include links to community pages and resources as well as a community calendar with upcoming events.

The newspaper plans to ad other features in the future. One item already in the planning stage is placing the "Who Am I" game on-line. That would allow readers to enter their guess on the mystery neighbor of the week via e-mail.

The staff indicated it is looking forward to viewer feedback regarding the project as well as any suggestions on how to improve the site.

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