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Editorial: Online options create new opportunities

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There has been a lot of concern in the newspaper business that the Internet will draw people away from the printed paper. That people prefer to get their news on a screen rather than on newsprint.

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That is less of a concern in the world of community newspapers, where a good web page can be a benefit as much as a burden. Being able to post news online means we don't have to wait when a big story breaks. We can bring you the news immediately rather than waiting until our next print edition comes out. It means we can be the first source of news as well as the best source of information about the things that happen in Farmington.

You'll find something new every day on our web page. Some of our stories appear there before they appear in print. Some appear exclusively online.

But that's not all that makes our web page useful. Community newspapers have always been about the people who read them, and a well-run web page allows us to create community in ways we can't in print. Readers can comment on stories. You can interact with each other and we can interact with you. In recent weeks we've even used the page to give away tickets to the Renaissance Festival.

Our web page gives readers a voice in another way, too -- a blogging platform called Area Voices.

Area Voices allows readers to create blogs on whatever topic they like, and it gives us the ability to feature those blogs on our page. It creates a built-in audience for whatever you've got to say.

It's not exactly a new concept. Community newspapers have depended upon correspondents to cover the news in far-flung areas for almost as long as they've used printing presses. This is much the same, but instead of writing about an outlying township you can write about your hobbies or your passions. You can even write about that township, if you'd like.

We've already got local blogs about food and technology and from community groups like Warrior to Citizen and the Farmington Rotary and we'd like to have more.

Getting started is easy. Just go to areavoices.com and sign up. Let us know the address of your blog and we can get it on our main page. If you need help, we're happy to be a resource. And if you've got an existing blog on another platform that just isn't getting enough traffic we can help you move it to Area Voices.

The Internet could be a cause for concern down the line for newspapers. But it can also be a great opportunity. We hope you'll take advantage.

Check us out at farmingtonindependent.com.

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