During my time as General Manager of SF Gate, I, along with
my team developed numerous technical, design and editorial innovations,
many of which are now industry standards:
o First large market newspaper-based website in the world.
Our site appeared live on the web in March 1994.
o First newspaper-based site to offer original material written
or produced exclusively for the web. This was a fairly revolutionary
concept in 1995.
o First news site to offer open public forums, 1994.
o First to offer searchable archives and searchable classifieds,
o First to send "email alerts" to users for classified
ads. In fact, I may have coined the term. I do not know of its
use before we offered it in the Spring of 1995.
o First to combine the content of newspapers and television
o First site to webcast a live Major League Baseball game:
Oakland Athletics, 1997.
o Created a unique news tool that allows readers to get headlines
and stories from different sources based on news subject and location.
This is a combination of algorhythms created by Autonomy Inc.
and human based library science, 1999. Our problem was that we
delivered a high volume of news from a variety of sources and
there is no standard set of subject categories for news. Thus,
we couldn't automatically group stories according to what they
were about. So we created this unique news engine. We first devised
the set of categories. Then, the Chronicle library staff slugged
their staff-written stories according to our categories for about
18 months. This allowed us to develop a large sample of each category.
We then had the Autonomy engine "learn" what kind of
document should be in each category. When we had that, we could
then send files from any source to it and it would separate out.
You could finally select automatically your news according to
what it was about, where it was from or who wrote it. You could
pick all or any variable from each column. Below is a model of
how it worked (sorry to say SF Gate stopped using it and the site is a lot poorer for it):