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Online San Diego

From the August 1, 1997 ComputorEdge (Issue 1531)

By Jim Trageser

As a sign of how far the Internet has intruded into "mainstream" life, consider that as more and more newspapers, magazines and other news outlets open up Web sites, the established journalism contests are adding online categories.

On June 25, the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists held its annual awards banquet honoring the best journalism for 1996. The first bunch of awards this year were those dedicated to Web sites. (Conflict of interest statement: The paper where I work full-time, the North County Times, was not entered in the Web site categories because our Web site is not yet up.) The judges were from outside the San Diego region, in keeping with accepted journalism contest procedures to ensure fairness.

In the judges' opinion, the best Web site run by a news operation? San Diego Online (, run by San Diego Magazine. SignOn San Diego (, San Diego Union-Tribune) and San Diego Source (, San Diego Daily Transcript) tied for second, with Roadrunner San Diego (, Southwestern Cable) getting third.

For the most part, those four sites battled it out all evening, in categories ranging from best design (San Diego Online) to best news source (tie, San Diego Source and SignOn San Diego) to best public-service site (Museum of Man, furnished by and located on San Diego Online) and best graphics (tie, San Diego Source and San Diego Online).

With yours truly busy crunching html> every night up at the North County Times, Microsoft readying its Sidewalk San Diego, and America Online's Digital City ready to sail to the Web, plus local TV and radio stations adding to or expanding their Web sites, the future of online journalism seems pretty secure in this county. And, with mergers (Evening Tribune and San Diego Union into the U-T; Oceanside Blade-Citizen and Escondido Times Advocate into the North County Times) and the death of the San Diego County edition of the Los Angeles Times, the print journalism contests had been getting pretty boring of late, with just three real dailies (Transcript, NCT, U-T). The explosion of news-oriented Web sites promises that the competition in the SPJ and San Diego Press Club contests is really going to heat up in the online categories in the years to come.