Online Newspaper: what you need to know

Online Newspaper: what you need to know

What is a newspaper?

A newspaper is a scheduled publication that contains news of current events, informative articles, diverse features, and advertising. It is usually printed on low-grade, inexpensive paper, such as newsprint.

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Online Newspaper: what you need to know

What is an Online Newspaper?

An online newspaper is the online version of a newspaper, either as a stand-alone publication or as the online version of a printed periodical.

History of Online Newspaper

An early example of an "online-only" newspaper or magazine was (PLATO) News Report, an online newspaper created by Bruce Parrello in 1974 on the PLATO System at the University of Illinois.

In 1987, the Brazilian newspaper Jornaldodia ran on the state-owned Embratel network, moving to the Internet in the 1990s. By the late 1990s, hundreds of U.S. newspapers published online versions but did not yet offer much interactivity.

One example is Britain's Weekend City Press Review, which provided a weekly news summary online in 1995. Today, online news has become a huge part of society, leading people to argue whether or not it is good for society.

Austra Taylor, author of the popular book The People's Platform, argues that online news does not provide the details needed to understand what happened fully. It is more just a quick summary to inform people what happened but does not give a solution or fixation to the problem.

The First Online Newspapers

News has been online since the 1970s. The first newspaper service on America Online was launched by the Chicago Tribune in May 1992. But not until 1995 was the online newspaper concept of today developed, featuring among others CNN as a global news engine. Six years later, in April 2001, American trade journal Editor & Publisher Interactive had registered in its database 12,878 news media online. 1995 was the year in which public Internet usage had its breakthrough in the entire Western world, largely due to a simpler “point-and-click” interface for the World Wide 284 Web.

Types of Online Newspapers

Two types of online newspapers

  1. E-edition

  2. Web edition


  • Laid out just like a print newspaper, with all formatting intact

  • Includes all the illustrations, advertisements, photographs as it is.

  • Preserves the look and feel of the print version.

  • Preliminary version of the shift from print to the digital format

Web Edition

  • It exists separately on the Internet, with a distinct style separate from the print publication

  • Includes brief stories of news, photographs, interlinked web pages and file transfer

  • Virtually all printed newspapers have web versions; Times of India, The Hindu, Indian Express, Deccan Herald

  • Signals the next step in digital newspapers from E-edition

An E-edition of the newspaper is actually published offline as a hard copy newspaper. It is a mirror of the hard copy publication. Web editions, on the other hand, are not produced or run in any other format apart from the Internet. They are never published as a separate version of the newspaper. E-edition tends to be less expensive if it is subscription-based. Web editions tend to be more expensive.

Advantages of Online Newspapers

  • An online newspaper allows the reader to interact with the paper itself. Readers can now leave comments, watch videos, view photo slideshows and oftentimes contribute their own opinions and written pieces to the paper.

  • If a newspaper releases a special print publication outside of its regular edition – for example, an edition specifically highlighting an upcoming election and its candidates – this content often does not make it online.

  • Sometimes online editions will even leave out content from the print newspaper’s regular edition.

  • If it is a busy news day and content online is already overflowing, some smaller news items may never make it on the web, leaving online readers slightly less informed than print readers.

  • The wide range of access points also contributes to the success of the online newspaper. Viewers can get their news straight off their smartphone or tablet computer. News is at their fingertips in an instant.

  • Most newspapers still offer free online access to most news stories covering all news stories in brief

  • An online newspaper can be read more elaborate than a printed newspaper. You can read the old issues too very easily at the click of the mouse. On the other hand, you have to get prior permission from the librarian to go through the old issues of a printed newspaper.

How online newspapers make money?

It wasn’t very long ago that people thought selling display advertising was the only way for online newspapers to make money, but today’s publishers have a huge variety of options. The majority of online newspapers make money using traditional business models adapted for the internet.

Leaner, savvier online newspapers make money using an internet-specific business model that relies on the use of multiple platforms for revenue generation.

We all know how important advertising is for digital publishers, but did you know that many media companies are making just as much money from other sources? Some of the revenue sources for online newspapers right now.

  • Subscription sales

  • Membership programs

  • Native advertising and sponsored content

  • Online directories

  • Community calendars

  • Affiliate links

  • Ecommerce sales (ebooks and branded merchandise)

  • Live and virtual events


Digitalization has changed the way we view a lot of things. Our idea of comfort, news and lifestyle has changed from material objects to screens. Online newspapers may be a simple switch to a bigger change however its popularly holds witness to its need.

As online newspapers get common, it is important that publishers look at this oppurutinity and play it to their advantage. Perhaps with cost reductions at the press end, one can invest more in journalism.