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Web site keeps readers near, far informed

Through fellowship program, Daily to receive Internet advice, then upgrade its online presence

By Josette Keelor
Daily Staff Writer

Being a resident of the Northern Shenandoah Valley is not a requirement for reading The Northern Virginia Daily, as the Rumseys have learned.

Don and Terri Rumsey, who grew up in Front Royal and graduated from Warren County High School, regularly visit the Daily's Web site at www.nvdaily.com.

Longtime residents of the area Don, 43, and Terri, 41, have moved to Tomball, Texas, but they still enjoy keeping up with the area's news.

Rumsey said via e-mail that the Northern Shenandoah Valley will always be home for him and his wife, and the Web site keeps them "in the know" when it comes to news here.

Of course, the Daily's Web site also offers information for people who still live in the valley. It allows readers to advertise electronically with the Daily, contact staff with birth and wedding announcements and obituaries, look up local classifieds and find out if the Daily is hiring.

And soon it will do more than that.

General Manager Elizabeth Smoot said the Daily plans to upgrade its Web site this fall as a result of a partnership with the Newspaper Association of America's Digital Media Fellowship Program.

The Daily's Web site was chosen by the association as the client newspaper for the program. Ten digital media professionals from newspapers of various sizes are selected each year by the NAA and divided into teams. Those teams are creating a comprehensive business plan for the Daily's site, which they will present in October.

"We feel very fortunate to be part of [the project]," said Smoot, who is eager to move forward with the NAA's suggestions. Smoot said that when the Daily founded its Web site several years ago, it was intended to offer basic information about the company, such as a history of the paper and the main headlines of the day.

The NAA, however, is presenting a strategic plan to the Daily that will include the latest philosophies and best approaches that a Web site can offer readers.

"It's priceless," Smoot said of the information that the project will bring to the Daily's site.

"The Web allows us to meld the best of all media forms by presenting text, video and audio," Smoot said.

In the near future, the Web site will include various forms of multimedia, such as videos of local high school sporting events, Smoot said.

"The Web presents the news in a more compelling way," she said.

"We're getting more and more excited about what we'll be able to offer to the community," Smoot said. "There's really a limitless opportunity out there."

The Daily hopes that its new and improved Web site will not only offer the day's news but also be a place in cyberspace for the community to gather.

Related story: Daily excited to be part of the future


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