1996: The Chicago Tribune debuts on the World Wide Web (PR Newswire)

CHICAGO, March 14 /PRNewswire/ — The Chicago Tribune has debuted on the World Wide Web at http://www.chicago.tribune.com. All the editorial content of the newspaper appears there, but that’s only the beginning. The Tribune on the Web is made specially for the new medium.

While the Internet edition includes the full text of the day’s newspaper, including metropolitan stories from all Chicago Tribune zones, the site focuses on specially tailored material, including:

  • Original content created exclusively for the Web by the Chicago Tribune editorial staff and Tribune Media Services, incorporating audio, video, and other multimedia.
  • Blending of archival, Web-specific and news content about Chicago’s pro sports teams (currently the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks), and a special page devoted to a particular, well-known Chicago basketball player.
  • A front-page search form to help users find stories of special interest.
  • Special sites that are timed to current events. Currently, one area is devoted to the Illinois primary election (with information on Illinois primaries dating back to 1952); another is devoted to high school basketball in Illinois back to 1908; and a third is the Web version of the newspaper’s annual Beat Siskel contest.
  • Interactive TV listings that can be customized by cablecsystem and provide extensive, detailed program descriptions.

Each day, journalists working exclusively for the Internet edition will be gathering and editing material for Web users. While some of their work may appear in the pages of the newspaper, most is specifically designed for use on the Web. In addition to text and photos, the Internet edition will provide audio, video and other graphics to help illustrate stories and opportunities feedback and discussion appear on every page. The multimedia aspects of the Chicago Tribune’s Internet edition are provided by such Tribune Company partners as Chicagoland Television News (CLTV) and WGN Radio.

“Just as Chicago Tribune reporters have appeared on CLTV for the past three years to provide expertise on news stories, we will use broadcast audio and video to supplement our content for the Internet edition,” said Leah Gentry, editor of the Chicago Tribune’s Internet edition.

“Most newspapers on the Web repackage what the paper-and-ink product contains,” said Howard Tyner, editor of the Chicago Tribune. “Our Internet edition provides information that goes well beyond the pages of the Chicago Tribune.”

Advertising availabilities for the Internet edition abound with the opportunity to reach highly-desired demographic groups. During the launch period, more than 30 advertisers, including Ameritech, First Chicago and United Airlines, will evaluate advertising on the Chicago Tribune’s Internet edition.

“Many of our newspaper customers have already added the Web to their media mix,” said Kurt Fliegel, manager of interactive advertising for the Chicago Tribune. “Over time whole new groups of advertisers also want to take advantage of this new advertising platform.”

Classified advertising is another important element of the Chicago Tribune’s Internet edition. The Chicago Tribune was at the forefront of help wanted advertising on the World Wide Web with Career Finder and CareerPath.com. Similar services for real estate and automotive are planned.

“The Chicago Tribune’s Internet edition provides information of all kinds, ranging from entertainment to historical,” said Kathy Waltz, vice president and director of developing businesses for the Chicago Tribune. “We are working to make the service as interactive as possible and to eventually include community-based information services.”

Registration for the Chicago Tribune’s Internet edition will begin about April 15. A small subscription fee for customized services is planned starting in June.

“The Chicago Tribune’s credibility is a strong plus for the Internet edition,” said Jack Fuller, president and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. “Our reputation for news and advertising information will serve us well in this new arena.”

The Chicago Tribune began publishing electronically in March 1992 with the startup of Chicago Online, a service that appears on America Online. Chicago Online has become one of the most popular information providers on AOL, offering the full text of the Chicago Tribune plus access to its electronic archives.

The Chicago Tribune came to the World Wide Web in March 1995 with Career Finder, a compilation of help-wanted advertising in five technical categories, plus stories and columns by computer writer James Coates and jobs columnist Carol Kleiman. This service has grown to include job ads in all categories. In addition, Chicago Tribune help wanted ads are also available through CareerPath.com, a consortium of six large national newspapers.

“Today we start on a long, exciting road,” said Owen Youngman, director of interactive media for the Chicago Tribune. “We’ll be adapting our offerings based on changes in technology, changes in demands for information and changes in the way we gather the news.”


Director of interactive media, Chicago Tribune

Owen Youngman was appointed the Chicago Tribune’s first director of interactive media in October 1995, with both editorial and P&L responsibility for the newspaper’s efforts on the Internet, on America Online, and in whatever interactive medium comes next. He reports to Kathy Waltz, vice president/developing businesses, for general management, and to Howard Tyner, vice president and editor, for editorial direction. During a Tribune career that he began in 1971 as a copy boy on the weekend night shift, Youngman has held positions including deputy sports editor; associate metropolitan editor/suburban news; associate features editor; associate managing editor/financial news; and managing editor/features.

He has supervised the creation of a number of new sections of the newspaper, including Sports Extra, a weekly high school sports tabloid that was the paper’s first news section to feature live color photography (1983); Your Place (1990), a real estate section devoted to resale and rental housing; Your Money (1993), a daily personal finance section that includes the Tribune’s classified ads; Good Eating (1995), a new food section that is mirrored on CLTV News, Tribune Co.’s all-news local cable channel and Chicago Online; and Arts & Entertainment (1995), the transformation of the Tribune’s Sunday tab Arts section into a broadsheet that also incorporates elements of its daily general-interest features section, Tempo. Tribune Co., the newspaper’s corporate parent, recognized Youngman with its annual Values Award in 1995 for managing the year-long, interdepartmental and cross-company project that led to Good Eating.

Youngman served on a Tribune Co. committee in 1992 that developed the parent company’s first explicit technology strategy. As managing editor/features, he directed the editorial department’s expansion into Chicago Online, which had been launched as a marketing department project, and also chaired an interdepartmental Chicago Tribune committee that drafted the newspaper’s Internet strategy. He has been a user of online services since 1983, when he dialed into The Source from his new Apple II computer at 1200 baud.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Owen Youngman, director of interactive media for the Chicago Tribune, will be available for questions about the Chicago Tribune on the World Wide Web on Thursday, March 14, at 312-222-4179.

About Owen Youngman

Professor Emeritus of Journalism and formerly Knight Chair in Digital Media Strategy, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University. Formerly senior vice president/strategy and development and director of interactive media, Chicago Tribune.