Plans afoot to launch local daily Net news site

Sunday Star-Times editor Michael Forbes warns that journalists wanting to write under pen names for a new online news service 'will probably have to watch their ethics'.

Sunday Star-Times editor Michael Forbes warns that journalists wanting to write under pen names for a new online news service "will probably have to watch their ethics".

His comment comes after being told of the existence of a new Net-based venture called 7@m to be launched late in the month.

Co-ordinated by netizen Bruce Simpson, 7@m aims to provide a "weekend newspaper every day", and is making an online call (http://www.7am.co.nz) for journalists and others to help establish a comprehensive Web-based news service.

Simpson, who runs the online site Aardvark, says the new site will be a "content-rich news site to compete head-on with daily newspapers".

The project, according to Simpson, is being driven by media professionals who feel their current organisations have been slow off the mark in moving on to the Web. Many of these people, he says, will be writing under pen names to avoid conflict with their employers.

Asked what capital was behind the project, Simpson admits there is not a lot and certainly no major backers. He says there is a group of people "with fire in their bellies" who have common goals and skills.

Simpson says 7@m will be based on a different business model from similar online ventures. Advertising charges, he says, "must represent value to advertisers" and charges for banner and display ads will be based on traffic flows on a click-through basis.

Contributors will be paid in accordance with the the level of advertising support that their editorial contributions attract.

Forbes's initial reaction was muted as he had not heard of the venture and he says the Sunday Star-Times has no immediate plans to go online itself.

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