Masthead CMC Magazine / February 1, 1996

Experience and Lessons from Web Publishing

by John December

When I started Computer Magazine in April 1994, there were few other magazines--or even publications with recognizable "brand names"--on the Web. HotWired wasn't on, nor Pathfinder, or even CNN or The New York Times. While all of these webs approach a different audience for a different purpose, their developers face similar challenges: working in a new medium, developing compelling content, and connecting with readers.

My mental model for creating this magazine was that it would be an opportunity for me to share information about the world of online communication, foster a community of people interested in its study, and create a forum that would not be an academic journal, nor a vanity press, nor an unorganized and unarchived collection of disparate files.

Little did I know that I would, over the course of the next years, learn how presentation, quality material, and promotion all play a role in creating something called a "publication," where people return, find something new, compelling, or valuable to them.

I'd like to know about the experience of others who have delved into the Web, hearing about their problems, solutions, and ideas. Beyond the hype and speculation of the endless seminars on "new frontiers in publishing," I'd rather hear a little history and specific experiences and case studies. Web publishing isn't exactly a cutting edge activity anymore. No doubt two years isn't very long, but I already feel I've learned a few things, and I'd like to hear your story.

The second anniversary issue of CMC Magazine, in May 1996, will be devoted to electronic publishing in general and Web publishing in specific.

I'm particularly interested in hearing from editors and publishers of ezines and independent publications, as well as from developers of larger-scale commercial projects and publishers of formal academic journals.

You can send an inquiry of your ideas for this to For more information on submitting material, check the CMC Magazine Index and the links under "Policies." [TOC]

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