Wall Street Journal goes online

The Wall Street Journal, known for its avoidance of all graphics except for modest black-and-white drawings, has officially launched its online edition on the graphics-rich World Wide Web.

The WSJ On-line is being offered free for the next three months and then will be priced at US$49 a year, or US$29 for subscribers to the hard-copy edition.

The service provides users with the ability to either browse the newspaper's contents or drill down and get further background information on companies featured in the article.

"We will also link the service to other Dow Jones services," says Philip Revzin, editor and publisher of the Wall Street Journal Europe. "So there are currently links to European Business News home pages."

Sound clips will also be available when necessary.

"We have used sound clips in the past," says Revzin. "When AT&T was split into three divisions we used the statement given by the company's chairman."

However, the newspaper has deliberately kept the page design as simple as possible.

"We never really went in for great graphics," says Revzin. "We prefer to use line drawings rather than photographs. But I think that has an advantage on the 'Net because it's quick."

"This site has been designed with an keen awareness of both the enormous potential and the current limitations of the Internet," says Kathy Burrows, UK Research Manager at International Data in London. "By setting pricing at very reasonable rates while providing easy access to valuable information, the WSJ Interactive Edition will server as a role model for content providers going forward."

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