A New Source For News:  The Online News Website


Bryan Weinandt


Print newspapers have been the primary source for receiving daily and weekly news for many Americans within the past two decades.  However, with the popularity of the internet at an all time high, many print newspapers are beginning to launch online news website.  Papers ranging from small publications like the Windom Citizen (www.windomnews.com), to larger papers like the Star Tribune (www.startribune.com) all offer information online.  With sites like these, news seekers no longer have to wait for the next morningís paper, they now simply have to turn on the computer and proceed to their publicationís website.


From studying many different online newspapers, I have noticed a lot of basic characteristics that they have in common.  Most of the online newspapers share the same stories as their print counter parts, however, in the online version; the stories are not always complete.  For example, the Windom Citizenís print publication offers a wide range of small town local news, with very little national news. On the Citizenís website, they do not offer all of the news stories, and many of the stories offered are incomplete and alert the reader to reference the print version for the complete news story.     


Some online papers also offer a subscription, just like print newspapers.  For example, the Mankato Free Press (www.mankatofreepress.com) does this.  With the subscription you gain more access to the website, also emails are sent out with news updates.


With this big crossover from printing presses and printers, to online code and screen design brings a need for good technical writing.  It is important for technical writers for these papers to make the online news page useful to the audience that reads the hard copy.  It is also important that the news website also have usability across all ranges of readers.  With this in mind, for example, the designers and writers for the Windom Citizen have to keep in mind their small town core, while also acknowledging those who might want to check out a small town paper, and have no clue what the town is about.  The same idea holds true for the larger papers.


Layout and design of online news papers are very important.  News articles and breaking news are usually on the front page with headlines, much like the print versions.  However with the capabilities of the internet, online papers have the ability to store older articles for reference, or for viewing past there intended dates.  Being online, news websites also often have online surveys and polls.  Again, the Windom Citizen holds a weekly online poll; however, you must buy the print version of the paper to read the results.


The wide spread popularity of the internet has opened up a market for many new ideas.  One of these ideas is online news sources.  It is not only large publications spreading the news over the web, but also small town news papers.  Most papers, much like their print versions, carry the same stories, however online stories may be incomplete.  Also, some news sites require an online subscription.  However, no matter what the situation is, news is available twenty four hours a day, and seven days a week because of the rising popularity of the internet, and news websites.