WORLDWIDE WINDOW TO PAPUA NEW GUINEA

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By Daniel Lam

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 15, 2000 - The National/PINA Nius Online)---In today's world every organisation that aims to be "tuned in with the times," be it a private company, government body or even an educational institution, has an online presence.

In early 1997, The National launched its website. It was a first for Papua New Guinea, being the first daily newspaper to have an online presence.

It was simple even by the standards then ... minimal graphics, no pictures, no frames, mostly text, etc. But it was effective in getting across to the world the news from PNG.

The simplicity was necessary because of the limited infrastructure and resources available at the time.

Then, late last year, the management of The National decided that the time and circumstances were right for The National Online to be upgraded.

Senior editor Sinclaire Solomon was appointed Online Editor-in-Chief. Web-design talent Rhandy Libiran was reeled in to redesign the website. Senior journalist Sanjay Bhosale was enlisted to coordinate between the print and online media.

The resulting effort was well worth it.

At the beginning of this month, The National's refurbished website was launched. The URL remains the same, but the website has changed - for the better. (SEE: http://www.wr.com.au/national/

Gone are the dull text links and still images. Now, The National Online is in full color, with plenty of pictures and graphics. The various sections (Nation, Opinion, Sports, etc) have been expanded, and additional sections added.

All the things visitors liked about the old website are still there ...great news stories, accessibility, user-friendliness, neat layout, etc.

The National Online is a "complete" newspaper. Practically everything from the print format is there, so people from around the world can have access to things PNG.

In addition to all the cool new things, an online poll has been added to give an element of interactivity to The National Online. Every week there will be a poll on a major issue involving the people.

So popular was the online poll that within the first few days of the launch, nearly 700 people voted on an issue that affects everyone in PNG.

The website, designed using Microsoft's FrontPage software, was tailored in a way that blends a combination of flair and practicality.

The website has been designed so that it downloads reasonably fast in PNG, where connection speeds can be erratic. It is hosted locally with Global Technologies, and there is a mirror site with ZipWorld of Australia.

For additional reports from The National, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The National (Papua New Guinea).

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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