/ Q.A.: Basic Journal-ism: Tips for Electronic Publishers

Not long ago, while talking with the publisher of an online news operation I mentioned that I teach a course called Writing for the Web. He surprised me when he replied, "What is writing for the Web? We ask that question every day."

As the contributors to this issue make clear, many people involved in electronic publishing have made great strides in taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the Web. But as in any new venture, there are still far more questions than answers.

During a recent sabbatical, I attempted to start answering the fundamental question of what separates the best electronic publications from the mediocre. I spent months talking with leaders in commercial electronic publishing, reading the work of people who have thought long and hard about the challenges and opportunities of this new medium, and visiting countless Web sites that showcase fresh and creative thinking. One result of that research was my online work Editing for the Web.

In the coming issues of JEP, I've been invited to discuss my findings, with special emphasis on how they apply to electronic journals. I'm hoping that this will be an interactive feature, with readers providing examples for my columns as well as feedback on them. I trust the experience will be a learning one for all of us — and fun, too.