North Coast Journal

Feb. 1995 - PUBLISHER (hello?)

by Judy Hodson, Editor & Publisher

In December 1994, 23,000 copies of the North Coast Journal were printed and distributed throughout Humboldt County. It was a fairly typical month. We mail 3,000 of those copies to subscribers as well as business and community leaders. The remainder are distributed to stores, restaurants, coffee and bagel shops from Garberville to Orick to Willow Creek and everywhere in between.

When the first of the month rolls around again, our route managers bring stacks of new magazines, and pick up and count any returns. That's our way of knowing that 22,280 North Coast Journals found their way into your homes in December.

That same month, 57 people read the Journal in a whole new way - on the Internet. Of those people, we know 43 of them have a graphics interface in their computers (stick with me, all you non-techies).

It means they were able to see a picture of the banner, North Coast Journal, on their home or office computers just as it appears on the cover. They browsed through all the story headlines that month, picking and choosing which articles to read and which ones to skip. We know that, for instance 17 people read the cover story on ultramarathoners by Tim Martin, and 11 people read "Murder on the Orient Express" by Wally Graves. And we know that 75 people tapped into the December Calendar section of the magazine that can be accessed separately.

The Journal has been on-line since January 1994 via the Northcoast Electronic Town, a regional service that is much more than a bulletin board. The NET (caps) is the brainchild of Larry Goldberg, president of Evergreen Technologies Corp. in Eureka.

Larry likes to call the local NET a town on the Information Superhighway. It's a place to visit, read a local magazine, leave a message for a city council member, register for an upcoming workshop and chat (in real time) with people about issues of common interest. The parameters of this particular town are Sonoma to the south and the Oregon border to the north.

The Journal is found in two places on the local NET: the current edition is under "News" and the stories from back issues can be found in the "Library."

In November, Larry moved his entire town onto the Internet and at the same time he launched a second service called Redwood Country Unlimited, a commercial enterprise (Is that redundant?).

The RCU is accessible through something called the WorldWide Web, which allows users to navigate through linked information sources around the Internet and around the world.

I am not a techie either, but I went to Larry's office the other day to take a quick tour of RCU. The possibilities of this new venture are both exciting and truly unlimited.

In the first month on the Internet, November, RCU logged 2,500 "visitors" from 35 countries ranging from Slovenia to Australia. In December the number rose to 3,000. Most of these visits were by users who could see graphic images as well as read text. Here's a sample - in full color: Planning a visit to the North Coast? Call up hotels and up comes the Lost Whale Inn with photos of the Inn, rooms and the spectacular ocean view from the cliff.

Restaurants? How about the Eureka Inn. Click once and see an exterior shot of the elegant Tudor. Click again and you're inside the Colonnade Room. Click again and view the complete menu and prices in the Rib Room or Bristol Rose Cafe.

Planning a visit in May? Check the Calendar. Up pops photos of the Kinetic Sculpture Race. Later this year potential tourists will be able to view a 10-second video on the history and significance of the Kinetic Race plus other annual events such as the Jazz Festival.

Interested in Indian basketry? Just call up the Clarke Museum to browse through its collection. The RCU has an online art gallery featuring photos of the works of local artists. And in the Crafters Market, a local dollmaker can reach a potential of 25 million buyers.

"That's what I call broadcasting," Larry said. "But (RCU) is also 'narrowcasting'" - to find just those people interested in a certain type of handmade doll.

The RCU - Larry calls it a cybermall - also carries regional maps, a directory of local food producers, mail order products, and real estate on the market.

Larry has been after us for a year to get a modem and get on-line. I think we're ready. Maybe next month you can e-mail us.


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