NewsNet nominated for international award

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The NewsNet Web site was nominated last week for an international award.

The Eppy award, a creation of Editor & Publisher, a journalism trade magazine, honors the best work by the newspaper industry in the online/Internet field. BYU’s NewsNet is a finalist for the Best College Newspaper Online Service award.

The other two finalist schools are the University of Kentucky and Michigan State University.

This is NewsNet’s first nomination as a finalist in a contest that has been running for three years. However, before this year there was no separate category for college online news services. In the past, NewsNet competed against online news services like the New York Times and the Washington Post.

“It’s exhilirating to get that international recognition,” said John Gholdston, managing director of NewsNet.

The NewsNet site started in the early 1990s as Newsline. Newsline was consolidated with the Daily Universe and KBYU news just two years ago and the whole program was renamed NewsNet.

“It was born with the realization that the media was changing … changing the reality of how we were getting news,” Gholdston said.

Since its inception, the NewsNet site has enjoyed increasing success. Last year during the month of January, NewsNet user sessions totaled 18,000. Over 51,000 user sessions were recorded during January 1999.

Most of these users come from outside of Utah in places like Virginia and California, and some hits on the Web site are coming from other countries.

Gholdston said the Web has some advantages over a printed newspaper, like immediacy of content.

“We’re not just putting up a newspaper,” Gholdston said. “When it is ready, it goes up.”

The NewsNet site offers audio and video clips in addition to written stories and gives users the option to customize their news if they register with the service. Newsnet also sends stories to users through e-mail.

Scott Johnson, editorial director for NewsNet, agrees that the advantages of computer technology help the success of NewsNet’s site, but he also points to another reason.

“The real key to the success of it is the content,” Johnson said.

The NewsNet Web site is located at newsnet.byu.edu.

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