online newspaper market size and use of world wide web technologies
by Wendy Dibean and Bruce Garrison

[An early version of this paper was presented at the Media in Transition Conference at MIT on October 8, 1999. This revised version was completed in 2001.]

Observers have proclaimed the Internet to be the future of communication. Katz, for example, believed that the future of journalism is found on the Internet and that online news will one day become mainstream journalism. "The [World Wide] Web is transforming culture, it is transforming language, transforming information, and we're seeing this in very dramatic and measurable ways, which some liken to the invention of movable type" (Katz 1999, 14-15). He noted that the old model of a few people providing information to many is "breaking down" in favor of many providing to many. Rules are being rewritten and the news media are being transformed. The way in which news organizations relate and interact with their audiences is also in transition (Pavlik 1999).

What does this fundamental shift in communication mean to journalism? How are journalists using these new network tools to reach audiences? In recent years, news media have flocked to the Web. The number of newspapers in the United States offering online editions has grown rapidly. One study reported online editions had increased from 745 in July 1996 to 2,059 a year later (Li 1998). The amount of change that has occurred in online newspapers has been significant. One observable shift has been toward increasing original news reporting by online news site staffs. Journalists are less likely to serve as traditional information gatekeepers. Users have larger amounts of information and a wider range of sources upon which to draw (Anonymous 1999a).

The role of many online newspapers has yet to be defined. In some cases, online editions are not much more than electronic versions of the parent newspaper. Some others are a hybrid of printed newspaper and original content. Some online news sites contain large amounts of original content created by separate staffs. Sources of news and information are being widened to meet the needs. At least one journalist at the Evansville, Ind., Courier & Press has argued that online newspapers should think of themselves as full-service independent Web sites. He argued that sites should work with 24-hour deadlines and update content on a frequent and regular basis (Derk 1999).

A key content issue has been whether newspaper Web sites are considered part of the print edition or a separate and competing medium (Stone 1999a; Stone 1999b). Similar questions about the role of the print news medium arose when newspapers competed against and developed their own radio stations in the 1920s and again with television stations in the 1950s. While the heart of the competition is advertising dollars, news content is also a concern in the face of any new developing medium (Shaw 1998). Commercial media influences, such as those by online newspapers, point to a "colonization" metaphor describing the Internet instead of the commonly described "community" (Riley, Keough, Christensen, Meilich & Pierson 1998). The ideals of democratic community building on the Internet, they offered, are resisted by online newspapers as they "stake out" territories by discouraging access to other sites. Peng, Tham & Xiaoming found differing online objectives in online newspapers, but online newspapers were similar in the goals of seeking additional readers, increasing revenue, and promotion of the print edition (Peng, Tham & Xiaoming 1999). South recently observed that online newspaper staffs often must urge their print colleagues to think about the needs of online sites (South 1999). For example, print reporters and editors do not usually gather audio or video for the print editions, but will assist their online counterparts.

Many newspapers with Web sites have not found the right online model. Some, including large publications such as The Buffalo News, Jackson Clarion-Ledger, and Honolulu Advertiser, did not have Web sites with daily news content as recently as summer 1999 (Dotinga 1999). The rapidly evolving state of online news media can be characterized by considerable experimentation with content, technologies, and distribution. Furthermore, the result is frequent changes and often-radical site redesigns. Online newspapers are at an important stage of media convergence. Online newspapers still had many ties to traditional print newspapers, but they also have the potential to utilize many new features from the world of mixed-media digital communication. These included audio, video, animation, and increased user control. The Internet2, when available to the general public and commercial news companies, is expected to have a significant content- and process-changing influence (Phipps 1999a). Experts have already speculated that gathering and distributing news as well as public consumption will be quite different (Phipps 1999a).

How do these evolving technologies change news? That question remains unanswered in the literature. This study explores one aspect of the problem by focusing on use of available Web technologies in online news. This study compares use on the basis of newspaper market type and explores whether there are differences between the market types of online newspapers.

The transition to news on the Internet has not been simple. Critics have pointed out that newspapers are not using new technologies to full potential (Outing 1998). They argue that daily newspapers have not made necessary changes in the way they collect and distribute news (Lasica 1997a). Some authorities have said that newspapers are following the old model of presenting news every 24 hours instead providing of continuous updates and that they are just creating "shovelware"- the process of taking the content of a print edition and reproducing it on a Web site (Cochran 1995; Marlatt 1999). Experts have also argued that newspapers are not taking advantage of interactivity, hypertext, and multimedia (Cochran 1995; Marlatt 1999).

Singer suggested four theoretical foundations for study of online journalism and online journalists (Singer 1998; Singer 1999). She pointed to gatekeeping theory, diffusion of innovation theory, sociology of news work, and the role of journalism as a cohesive force in a fragmenting society. Other recent new technologies research has focused on uses and gratifications theory as the foundation for study (Leung & Wei 2000). Analysis of technological devices used for online news delivery is, however, may be best seen within the diffusion of innovation context (Meier 2000; Garrison 2001; Rogers 1995).

Technologies Used for Online News

Research shows increased use of newspaper Web sites. Many users are seeking local news at the sites (Strupp 1999). Increasing numbers of women are reading online news (Flagg 1999). While audiences that use the Web are growing, a technology gap has evolved. A recent federal study determined that, while the Internet has become a major communication force, it has done so at the expense of some elements of American society. The study concluded that there was a "digital divide" between technology haves and have-nots. Some of the gap is based on economic levels, but race and geography are also factors (Irving 1999). Another study concluded that Internet news audiences were becoming more "ordinary" in addition to becoming larger. Among its findings were that weather was the most popular online news attraction in 1999, replacing technology news and information that had been the top subject two years earlier. The report noted that users were less well educated than two years ago, included more females, and more users with modest incomes. These demographics indicate changing news interests. Weather and entertainment news are growing in popularity much faster than politics and international news (Anonymous 1999b). Despite the growing interest in online news, many news organizations do not emphasize it nor satisfy demand for it. Web editors admitted that they are still learning how to use the Web (Strupp 1999). Because of their nature, usability of Web sites is a focal point of some research. van Oostendorp and van Nimwegen studied scrolling and use of hypertext links for reading and finding information contained in an online newspaper and concluded that site designers should "avoid presenting information on deeper hypertextual levels for which scrolling is necessary" (van Oostendorp & van Nimwegen 1998, n.p.).

User Interactivity

Web designers use a handful of interactive tools to enhance their products. These options include links to other stories, electronic mail contact with journalists, chat rooms, forums, animations, photographs and biographical information about reporters and columnists, related coverage, and searchable databases. The tools also include, of course, multimedia capability such as providing archived or live audio and video. Archived news and other information are also available.

According to Outing, "It's a no-brainer that newspapers' archives are of interest to readers, and a potential revenue stream" (Outing 1998, n.p.).Yet, he found that the majority of sites had yet to make their archives available online. He determined that a number of sites either included no names of staff members or included staff listings but no electronic mail addresses, offering no way for readers to interact with the staff. He also found a frequent absence of obituaries, birth notices, and other matters of interest to local readers, especially for small-town newspaper Web sites. Few sites operated online discussion forums (Outing 1998).

Cochran noted that the San Jose Mercury Center is one of the best examples of sites using interactivity (Cochran 1995). It incorporates ways to send electronic mail to groups related to the topic of the article, links to related sites, and connections to sites that offer more information. Cochran said these features were used so, "if the reader were so inclined, she could have (a) learned about an important issue, (b) gathered additional information not provided by the newspapers, (c) seen what other folks were saying about the proposal, and (d) taken steps to register her position on the issue with lawmakers" (Cochran 1995, 36). Cochran said The Wall Street Journal's personalized version of the newspaper that contained news on just the topics the reader selects was another positive use of available technologies (Cochran 1995). Massey and Levy used a five-dimensional conceptualization of interactivity (Massey& Levy 1999). They looked at complexity of content choice, responsiveness, ease of adding information, facilitation of interpersonal communication, and immediacy. The analysis found a relatively complex choice of content, but the sites did not rate highly on the remaining four dimensions.

Content, Design, Deadlines, and Distribution

Production of an online news site requires more than the effort of one individual, just as traditional newspapers require numerous teams of specialists with a wide range of newsgathering, editing, production, and distribution talents (Stone 1999a; Stone 1999b). A major characteristic of online news that differentiates it from traditional newspaper news, however, is the nonlinear nature of writing and reporting. Analysis of online news sites has shown that nonlinear storytelling is increasing. Newspaper Web sites use fewer links than broadcast news station Web links but, in general, both types of news sites were increasing in their use of hypertext links. With links and other writing devices sites can offer users additional depth, background information, graphics, and references to previous coverage (Tremayne 1999).

Some online authorities feel newspapers should offer more breaking news. Companies like Marimba, PointCast, and Starwave made push news software popular. Multiple deadlines are necessary for newspapers to keep up with other news Web sites. "If you look at newspaper deadlines, that's an artificial deadline based on distribution needs," observed Scott Woelfel, editor-in-chief of CNN Interactive (Lasica 1997b). "In a way, it's a throwback to the old days when newspapers had three or four editions a day. It will require newsrooms to recruit staff members with an entirely different set of skills," added Valerie Hyman, a professor at the Poynter Institute (Lasica 1997b, n.p.).

Other critics feel that online news sites often depend too much on wire service content, such as that from Associated Press or Reuters, even though there is no substantial limit to the volume of information that can be provided (Welch 1999). This is attributed to small budgets, few staff members, and other limits to resources. Another criticism of online news is that it often is too fast in passing along information to readers. Some observers feel Web publications are often careless in posting unconfirmed information during breaking stories as well as during other less deadline-intensive circumstances (Lasica 1997b). When the Los Angeles Times first launched its Web site, its goal was to offer the most comprehensive guide to California. It offered calendar events, archived reviews, community databases and minimal discussion forums and live chat sessions (Outing 1996a). Users of news Web sites seek local news from local news sites (Phipps 1999b). Local news content (72%) was more valued than weather information (40%), national news (39%), and classified advertising (38%), among other types of content. Even users (58%) of newspapers Web sites with circulation over 250,000 sought local news. For newspapers with less than 250,000 circulations, the figure jumped (83%).

Individuals who direct or manage newspaper Web sites feel content should drive the site's design, not technology nor appearance (Lowrey 1999). While traditional print design concerns and principles apply to the Web, there are differences. Many of these involve use of technologies, such as links or multimedia features, available to Web designers but not to print designers. One recent study focused on online newspapers' errors and corrections policies, noting that news organizations did not use the technologies of the Web, such as archiving and hyperlinking, to do a more effective job to influence the flow of accurate information to the public (Nadarajan & Ang 1999).

Skills and High Tech Resources

The nature of the Web demands technical skills to maximize its communication potential. Neuberger and colleagues found that about half of the newspapers' staff members they studied had journalistic duties, the authors stated that technical responsibilities were "growing" and that editorial decisions were often left to print editors (Neuberger, Tonnemacher, Biebl & Duck 1998). Stepp observed that distribution of online news requires different, additional skills to those of traditional journalists (Stepp 1996). While most of those skills involved using computers and associated software, Stepp observed that there must also be an ability to look at the profession in an innovative manner. Expertise and versatility were characteristic of these journalists who are able to work in a wide spectrum of news media and use a broad base of technologies.

Newspapers are learning include "don't go it alone" on the Internet (Outing 1996b). Outing stated "newspaper companies generally do not have all the skills and resources necessary to succeed in new media" (Outing 1996b, n.p.). Some examples of online newspapers that have teamed with other groups include The Washington Post, which teamed with Newsweek and ABC-TV News to operate the ElectionLine site. is an effort of all competing New England media, including The Boston Globe (Outing 1996b). Many of the resources available for online news distribution involve interactivity. For many years prior to widespread development and use of the Web, bulletin boards provided a virtual space for community discussion and distribution of information. One popular form, used for a number of years through commercial online services such as America Online, is the chat room. Perlman observed that online newspapers do not use chat rooms or bulletin boards (Perlman 1999). The potential is there, Perlman noted, citing the increased volume of chat room use that occurred on AOL immediately after the Columbine school shootings in spring 1999.

Electronic Commerce

Online news sites are moving into the realm of electronic commerce (Noack 1999). One study found that 65% of online newspaper users were involved in some type of electronic commerce. While it is not yet as popular as electronic mail, reading news online, and searching for information, online news users are also involved in online shopping and making purchases (Noack 1999). started on "Affiliate Network" that created co-branded marketing and book selling opportunities. Newspapers involved in the affiliate program included the Chicago Tribune, USA Today Online and the Other newspapers, such as the Hartford Courant Online, have launched online auctions. The SunOne Web site of the Gainesville Sun launched a sports boutique. Tampa Bay Online offers CD-ROMs. The Star Tribune Online has developed a project called Gift Generator to connect buyers and sellers (Anonymous 1997).

Astor discussed the quantity and revenues of using syndicated materials on newspaper sites (Astor 1996). Newspapers have had difficulty publishing their syndicated and supplemental news service material on their Web sites for legal and other reasons. The Minneapolis Star Tribune's online service was one of the first online newspapers to offer syndicated general-interest columns. But, since newspapers have started to generate more revenue, the extra cost of using syndicated materials has become less of a problem.

Online Newspaper Market Models

Traditional newspaper markets have been divided into categories based on circulation size- such as small, medium, and large. Outing looked at small and medium size newspaper Web sites although he did not directly define these classifications (Outing 1998). Garrison defined large newspapers as those with a circulation larger than 50,000 and small newspapers as those with a circulation smaller than 50,000 (Garrison 1998). Chyi and Sylvie noted differences in the print newspaper's traditional local focus and the boundary-transcending capacity of the Internet (Chyi & Sylvie 1999). They offered an "umbrella" model of online newspaper economic markets that focused emphasis on the ability of online news to seek markets at a variety of different levels. Their model included a five-layer approach that was described as community, metro, regional, national, and international. This differs, they noted, from the conventional community, metro, and national levels most often used to describe print newspapers. Chyi and Sylvie concluded that geography is not relevant for online newspapers, but that online news media do have market boundaries. They also concluded that newspapers must cease "thinking 'local' when it comes to online markets," especially for advertising. They concluded that "the larger the print market, the larger the online product's long-distance market" (Chyi & Sylvie 1999, 31).

The goal of this study was to determine how different types of U.S. daily newspapers use the Web. More specifically, this study compared the approaches of three different market types of online newspapers:
1. Are U.S. daily newspapers using technologies available for development of World Wide Web sites? If so, to what extent?
2. How do local, regional, and national online newspapers vary in their use of the technological features commonly found in the design of a Web site?
3. How much change in these technology use patterns has occurred within the past year?


Three major market types were studied, a modification of the Chyi and Sylvie (1999) approach. Market types were chosen in relation to the audience they cater to, which, in some ways, is based on circulation and market served. USA Today and The New York Times were selected as the national publications. The Boston Globe and The Orlando Sentinel were the regional newspapers chosen. The Naples Daily News, in Naples, Fla., and The Macon Telegraph, in Macon, Ga., were the local publications used. These six newspapers were chosen because they fit the market types analyzed and because of their journalistic reputations for quality. Each had maintained Web sites for several years. Many other newspapers fit into the three market types and could have been used, but for the needs of this study, only two newspapers for each category were selected.

A longitudinal design was used to determine change in technology use. Eleven consecutive days (November 5 to 15, 1998) of home pages and top news story pages of the above six electronic newspapers were content analyzed for the t1 content analysis. A second set of eleven days (July 12 to July 22, 1999) was also studied for the t2 content analysis. Li (1998) used the eleven-day time frame of analysis. These dates were selected because it was believed that there were no significant scheduled news events that could skew routine coverage practices.

The home page was defined as the initial page of the newspaper's Web site. Top news story page was defined as the story link on the home page that is given the most prominence, either by position, size of type or use of art, on the page. The top news story link was found on the home page as the first news story link that also had a large type size (point size 14 or higher as an image or font size 4 or higher in HTML) or was accompanied by art (photograph or graph) or both. For analysis purposes, the data collected from each of these pages were combined for a total number of use occurrences per day, per site. The units of analysis were the pages of the Web site.

The fifteen technology variables included forums, chat rooms, related information for stories, video, audio, flash, other plug-in based technologies, Java applets, other language use outside of the basic HTML 4.0 standard, electronic mail, polls with instantaneous results, search tools, consumer services (electronic commerce functions including searchable classifieds, home finders, job finders, and merchandise sales), sign-up for electronic delivery of a personalized newspaper and instantaneous updates of information (including stocks, sports scores, and weather) that are located on the home page and top news article page (see Appendix 1), and links to the above uses of the new technology. Each instance of the above features, as well as links to one of the features, was counted on both the home page and the top news article page by two trained coders. The inter-coder reliability coefficient was 0.96 for the first analysis and 0.99 for the second analysis, using the R=(2(C12)) / (C1+C2) (Budd, Thorp & Donohew 1967; Riffe, Lacy & Fico, 1998).


To what extent are U.S. daily newspapers using technologies available for development of Web sites? Data in Table 1 show that a majority of pages had forums by summer 1999 (31.9% in 1998 and 53.0% in 1999), related information (53% in 1998 and 65.9% in 1999), electronic mail (59.8% in 1998 and 69.7% in 1999), site searches (79.5% in 1998 and 88.6%), and consumer services (95.5% in 1998 and broken up in 1999 with 100% use of consumer services and 96.9% of electronic commerce). Very little use of chat rooms (2.3% in 1998 and 7.6% in 1999), other languages (6.1% in 1998 and 10.63% in 1999), polls with instantaneous updates (9.1% in 1998 and 25% in 1999), and sign-up for personal delivery (2.3% in 1998 and 25% in 1999) was found. No instances of other plug-in based technologies were found on any of the sites studied. Flash was not found in 1998, but appeared on a small percentage of pages (0.8%) in 1999. Java applets saw little use in 1998 (15.2%), but dropped to no use in 1999. This was the only decline found among the 15 technology variables. Instantaneous updates (25.8% in 1998 and 37.9% in 1999), audio (12.1% in 1998 and 27.3% in 1999), and video (10.6% in 1998 and 30.3% in 1999) were used on certain sites, but had not taken hold on the majority of newspaper sites.

A breakdown of the technologies used by each newspaper in November 1998 shows dominance by the two regional newspapers. The Orlando Sentinel had more occurrences per day in links to related information, audio, video and polls with instantaneous results. The Boston Globe had the most occurrences of search engines, consumer services, sign-up for personal delivery and instantaneous updates. The Naples Daily News had the most occurrences of chat rooms and electronic mail, The Macon Telegraph had the most occurrences of Java applets, and The New York Times had the most occurrences of forums, but none lead by a very large margin, as shown in Table 2.

Nearly a year later, the regional dominance still held. The Orlando Sentinel had more occurrences per day in forums, audio, video, other language use and polls with instantaneous results. The Boston Globe had the most occurrences of links to related information, chat rooms, and electronic mail. Local newspapers' domination disappeared in July. National newspapers grew in dominance in some areas. USA Today had the most occurrences of Flash, search engines and consumer services. The New York Times had more occurrences per day of sign-up for personal delivery and instantaneous updates.

How do the three market types vary in their use of the technological features commonly found in the design of a Web site? Data show that the market types vary greatly in the technologies they offer readers. National online newspapers showed a considerably higher adaptation of forums in 1998. Local online newspapers showed a notably higher adaptation of Java applets, and electronic mail use in 1998. Regional online newspapers showed a remarkably higher adaptation of polls with instantaneous updates, related information, video, audio, polls, search, consumer services, and instantaneous updates in 1998, as shown in Table 3. Scheffe post hoc analyses for 1998 showed most significant differences were between regional-local (ten) and national-regional (seven) market newspapers, but not as often for national-local (four) newspapers.

Use evened out less than a year later. National online newspapers showed the highest adoption of search engines, sign-up for personal delivery, and instantaneous updates. Regional online newspapers showed the highest adoption of forums, chat rooms, other language use, and polls with instantaneous updates. Local online newspapers showed the highest adoption of links to related information, audio, video, and electronic mail. But, none of these were overwhelming. Scheffe post hoc analyses for 1998 showed many of the differences the most significant differences between regional and local market newspapers (nine) and national-regional (six), but not as many for national-local markets (four).

In less than a year, there was growth in almost all areas. July 1999 data show significantly higher occurrences per day in forums, chat rooms, links to related information, video, electronic mail, polls with instantaneous updates, consumer services, and sign-up for personal delivery. The use of Java applets dropped to nothing in July 1999, as shown in Table 4. National online newspapers showed significant growth from November to July in most areas, including forums, links to related information, video, audio, electronic mail, search engines, consumer services, sign-up for personal delivery, and instantaneous updates, as indicated in Table 5. Regional online newspapers showed a decline in the use of search engines, and a growth in forums, video, other language use, and consumer services. Local online newspapers showed a decline in the use of Java applets and a growth in audio, electronic mail, search engines and consumer services.


Technological innovations change routines and processes. Development of the technology of the Internet and World Wide Web in itself may become the most significant change in world communication in a half-century or longer. It continues to create change in all aspects of life. When technology is so rapidly evolving as the devices and processes of communicating on the Internet have been during this decade, businesses and institutions are required to redefine old rules and create new ones (Ebo 1998).

The Internet has been considered by some social scientists to be an equalizer. It has the potential to bring communication to equal terms for social and economic groups as well as for businesses and industries. In one way, this study analyzed whether the Internet was a technology equalizer for newspapers that have used the World Wide Web to extend their news distribution reach and contact with audiences. Should small newspapers be different from large ones? Their financial, human, and other resources certainly vary. But this difference has not been found to be the case in terms of social classes using the Internet (Wolf 1998). There are differences in how newspapers are using the Web and their use of technologies to distribute information to audiences. This study has determined some of the differences.

The most prominent technology used by all three categories of online newspaper was consumer services. This is a potentially interactive component that any person with browser software and online service can utilize. Consumer services usually allow a person to insert a value of something that is desired and it returns what is available in the database. In can be used for automobile sales, home rental and sales, dating services, and many other classified related services. The area for the greatest growth, perhaps one of the most significant findings, is electronic commerce. Newspapers are using this tool to increase interaction with site visitors for a variety of purposes and growth of use is occurring at all three levels of service.

The two technologies that were not used or had very limited use were both plug-in based technologies. These technologies require readers to have extra software on their computers to utilize the technologies. The disappearance of the use of the Java applet can possibly be explained by the inability of the computer industry to standardize this technology in browsers. Java applets cause some readers problems (including computer crashes), so newspapers discontinued use as to not upset readers.

Since their creation, online newspapers have experienced change. For example, The Orlando Sentinel added new services that offer readers e-mail. Some of the newer services were still in testing mode on some sites in late 1998, and so, although they are offered, they may not have shown up very prominently. With time, it is expected that more of the technologies will appear with more prominence on the sites. Since this is still a very new medium and the technology is still being developed, changes occur every day. With this growth, it will be interesting to see how the popularity of online newspapers will grow along with it. The regional newspapers, with a large base of technological use will steadily grow in popularity. Unless national and local online newspapers catch up in the use of technologies, regional newspapers will take their readership.

It is not probable that any online newspapers will take up use of plug-in based technologies, such as Flash and Shockwave, unless they are made easier for the consumer. To do this, browser software must be standardized. Integration of these technologies into browsers in the future, for instance, would be one way to increase use. Further study should be conducted to measure this change. Also, other online newspapers should be studied to extend the test of differences in the market types.

National sites may have been slow to get into the technologies of the Web, but they seem to be making up for it. The most change that occurred was within the national sites. Of the fifteen categories of technology, more than half (eight) increased in a statistically significant manner. In comparison, regional sites experienced five statistically significant technology category increases and one statistically significant decrease (search tools). And for local sites, there was less change. Local sites experienced only four statistically significant increases in technology use categories and one significant decline (Java applets). There are numerous reasons for this- such as increased staff talent on staff for production, budget increases, shifts in management priorities, changing perceptions of audiences and their needs- but the data do not point to any specific one.

The study revealed that the most widely used technology categories must be studied beyond the limits of this project. It appears one approach would be to further divide categories such as consumer services, electronic mail, and related information into subdivisions. This was done, in part, when electronic commerce was split from consumer services for the second stage of this study and suggests considerable growth in use of electronic commerce. There are also different applications of electronic mail and use of related information devices such as pop-up boxes, for example, that require further investigation. As new technologies are developed, these will also require study for understanding of their contributions to the uses and effects of online news.




Appendix 1

1. Forums are areas on Web pages that allow posting of continuous discussions by readers about any topic.

2. Chat rooms are areas on Web pages that allow real-time discussions by readers.

3. Related information for stories is links or pullouts of information from other Web sources.

4. Video on a Web page is a moving image in the movie format. This does not include animated gifs. Video is usually found in the RealVideo or QuickTime format.

5. Audio is any sound that loads on from a Web page. This includes RealAudio.

6. Flash is a plug-in based product that allows for moving graphics and interactivity. Flash can be recognized because it loads the Flash Plug-in before the images load.

7. Other plug-in based technologies include Shockwave, QuickTime, IPIX, or any other technology that loads a plug-in before loading the image or information.

8. Java applets are scripts added to a Web page to add extra functionality and interactivity. It is usually spotted when the browser prompts "Loading Java" on the status bar. Java applets can be image or text based.

9. Other language use outside of the basic HTML 4.0 standard includes the use of such languages as JavaScript, Perl, and C. The most common uses of other languages are the image mouse-overs and scrolling text on the status bar. These are not easily spotted due to the variety of functions. The best way to pick out another language is by viewing the source of the page and searching for the .pl or .c file extensions.

10. Electronic mail is any link that allows users to send electronic mail to anyone, including the reporters, editors and people included in a story.

11. Polls with instantaneous results are a spot on a Web page that allows the reader to answer a question and pushes on the next page the results, including all participants up to and including the user.

12. Search tool is the ability to enter keywords to find articles or other information on the Web site.

13. Consumer services include searchable classifieds, home finders, job finders, merchandise sales, and any other service that makes it easier for the reader to find things apart from news stories and information. This category also included electronic commerce, which allows users to purchase goods or services on the newspaper's Web pages.

14. Sign-up for electronic delivery of a personalized newspaper is a spot that allows the reader to enter her/his e-mail address to receive a version of the day's news in their e-mail inbox.

15. Instantaneous updates of information are information found on a page that is loaded current with each reload. This usually includes stocks, sports scores, and weather updates.


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