The portal craze has taken the industry by storm. It's even driving competitors in the print world, like Knight Ridder and A.H. Belo Corp., to cooperate online.
Major newspaper chains are diving into the portal strategy -- in some cases by partnering with their competitors. During an analysts' meeting in New York June 21-23, Knight Ridder New Media of San Jose, Calif., announced it will partner with A.H. Belo Corp. of Dallas and Central Newspapers Inc. of Phoenix to create regional portals where the three companies have newspapers.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram and The Dallas Morning News have already joined together to create Dfw.com, a regional portal for the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area that debuted June 22. The combined portal will provide access to both newspapers' news, classified advertisements, and entertainment guides. The Star-Telegram is a Knight Ridder paper, while the Morning News is a Belo Corp. property.
Visitors to http://www.dfw.com will also find access to searchable Yellow Pages directories with maps and directions. The site will provide links to over 6,000 local Web sites. Users will be offered complimentary e-mail addresses through dfw.com. And 14 community guides for the region will be included. Each newspaper will retain its own news Web site, which will be easily accessible from the home page of the portal.
Dfw.com will be part of Knight Ridder's Real Cities network, which will be called Real Cities 2, a group of regional portals for the top 25 markets. "By combining resources, they'll provide a strong resource and a wide variety of information for the DFW area," says Kathy Yates, acting president of Knight Ridder New Media.
"The portal has a very different mission than the newspaper Web site. We're not approaching the online world in a defensive way. We're approaching it in an offensive …