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Newsweek.com rolls out enhanced community area

By Published on .

Newsweek unveiled a feature on its Web site the week of April 19 designed to build an online community attractive to readers and advertisers.

My Turn: Family Heroes went live April 18. An online version of the magazine's "My Turn" column, the feature encourages readers to submit photos and 250-word essays about family members who have contributed to their lives.


"We think every family has someone like that," said Michael Rogers, editor-general manager of Newsweek.com, published by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, a division of the Washington Post Co. "We are giving them the opportunity to let those stories be told."

The feature will provide sponsorship areas for advertisers, Mr. Rogers said.

"We think this will generate a high click-through rate," he said.


Sony Electronics Digital Imaging Marketing Group, an arm of Sony Corp. of America, is one ad partner for the feature. Newsweek.com was negotiating with other potential sponsors in the automotive, book, financial services and insurance categories.

Newsweek.com also has earmarked $1 million to promote My Turn: Family Heroes, using in-house-created print and banner ads.

The new feature is a small departure for Newsweek.com, which has offered an online discussion forum since 1994--first on Prodigy, then on America Online.

When Newsweek.com launched a site last year, it wanted to take its online discussion forum a step further, Mr. Rogers said.

"We wanted to add value and create something that's more of an outstanding community," Mr. Rogers said. "This is taking people's submissions and taking them to a higher level. We are adding a professional finish to them, making them more accessible. [Their submissions] will look like a nicely done Newsweek piece--only it will be theirs."

Newsweek editors review readers' submissions and post their essays at URLs listed in a searchable index. Seattle-based eChannel supplies the software for individual Web pages, customized with the Newsweek logo. The feature also provides people who submit essays with each other's

e-mail addresses to communicate about similar experiences.

Essays will be highlighted on the Newsweek.com home page every week, and selected essays submitted by Nov. 28 will be published in Newsweek in December.

Sony Digital will give participants the option of using its digital imaging technology to produce photos of family heroes.

Detroit-based Millennium321.

com, another sponsor and advertiser, has integrated its Millennium Countdown Clock into the site. The clock counts down the seconds until 2000.


Ads promoting the feature and its sponsors will run in Newsweek beginning next week. Print ads also will run in The Washington Post.

Banner ads on Newsweek.com home page, Washingtonpost.com, and Sony's and Millennium321.com's sites launch this week.

"We are very focused on driving traffic to this component," Mr. Rogers said.

Unveiling My Turn: Family Heroes precedes rolling out a redesigned Newsweek.com site, scheduled to launch by May 8.

Copyright April 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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