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PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 January, 2003, 12:00am

SCMP ; December 31, 2002

By May Sin-mi Hon

The government has launched a new online newspaper at The Web site includes senior officials' speeches and interviews, news stories, and links with other official Web sites.

Tam Sik-yeung, an assistant director of the Information Services Department, said the Web site was aimed at providing information in a user-friendly manner.

He said a forum would be launched for members of the public to express their views on different topics of concern.

'Opinion polls may also be conducted at a later stage,' he said.

On the site's debut edition, the director of Invest Hong Kong, Mike Rowse, was interviewed and said that despite the current economic downturn Hong Kong was full of opportunities.

A speech by the Solicitor-General, Robert Allcock, about the proposed controversial anti-subversion laws is also available on the site.

There is a corner for children too. Two children interviewed said on the site they would offer tax cuts if they were the chief executive, despite the mounting government deficit.

An eight-member editorial team, led by a chief information officer, is responsible for both the Chinese and English-language versions of the site.

The annual staff cost for the site is more than US$3 million a year.

Clement So York-kee, an associate professor of the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University, said the government wanted to increase coverage of its policies and press releases by launching the online newspaper.

'It has consulted academics in the past on how to increase the media's usage of its press releases,' he said.

The administration had been told the information needed to be written in a more attractive way and that the media would only use information that was newsworthy, he said.

Discussion points

? Call up the government's news bulletin Web site. How many stories are there on the home page? What types of stories are they, eg: news report, profile, features or press releases? What other information can you obtain from the Web site? Make a presentation of your findings.

? Do you think the stories on the home page are newsworthy?

Give reasons.

? What is news? What is good

news writing?

? What is good news?