What is the Smithfield Sun?

It is an online newspaper that serves the Smithfield, Richmond and northern Cache County, Utah area.

Okay, what is an online newspaper?

It’s everything you want from a newspaper — without the paper. We are converting the best of newspaper journalism into the medium of the World Wide Web.

How are newspapers and online newspapers similar?

A newspaper represents its community. It reports on important events, watches the government, roots for the home team, finds interesting things about the town, praises people for their good work. Newspapers facilitate communication between businesses, clubs, churches and individuals. This is done through solid reporting and by following the principles of journalism.

How are online newspapers different from printed newspapers?

The medium is different. Many people assume that since the web is just a bunch of words then it’s exactly the same as printing but onto a computer screen instead of paper. That’s not true. The world wide web is as different a medium from paper as television is. The difference is that paper is a spatial medium. The web is a temporal medium.

What does spatial and temporal even mean?

Paper is something that you touch and feel. It takes up space. It’s something you carry with you. That’s a spatial medium. Paper is wonderful and has served for hundreds of years. But it has limitations. It takes a lot of effort to prepare to print on paper. So you usually only can print one run of the news a day. It’s also expensive to distribute and cannot be changed or corrected once it’s printed.

The web is not a physical medium at all. Like television, it exists over time — like a stream of thought. This is what we mean by temporal medium.

For printed newspapers, journalism is a cycle of gathering, writing, typesetting and printing that repeats every day. For online newspapers, journalism is a stream of gathering, writing and publishing that rolls constantly on without deadlines or press runs.

Is an online newspaper better than a printed newspaper?

That’s the million dollar question in the journalism business right now. For us the answer is an emphatic yes! Of course it is. If the newspaper business were to be invented today would anyone even think of using paper? Of course not. The web is superior in timeliness, relevance, ease of access and efficiency. There is no practical reason for printed newspapers to survive the next ten years.

Is the Smithfield Sun a blog?

No, the Sun is not a blog. The stereotypical blog is a bunch of opinions written by one person from their couch in their pajamas. The Sun is about “beating the streets” and getting a story.

However, there are many features of our presentation that will appear blog-like. For example, stories will be posted chronologically and mixed together rather than trying to create separate sections.

Will you charge subscription fees for access to the stories?

No. All stories are free to the public.

Who pays for the reporting?

Sponsors do. Just like all traditional news media, we rely on the local businesses for their support. In return we create a public service for the community and a method for businesses to directly reach their core customers.

Are you going to have banner advertising?

We have found that banner advertising is a double-edged sword. Very few businesses have the resources to run an effective banner campaign. So instead, many websites rely on national banner-networks that fill the site with useless “belly fat” ads. We are working to create a better ad system that’s easy-to-use and update.

I want to become a sponsor?

Please give us a call at 435-227-5508 or write to submissions@smithfieldsun.com.

Why can’t we add comments to stories?

We found through hard experience that comments can be heavily abused. There are people we kindly call “trolls”. I say kindly call trolls because we could use far harsher words to describe these people. Trolls like to say terrible things to others online. They hide behind anonymous email addresses and pseudonyms. Trolls say things they would never say to a person’s face. When we started getting trolls in our stories about the elementary children, we said that was enough.

We are working on a commenting system with built-in protections against trolls. We want comments to be productive and civil.

How can I comment on a story?

Simple. Just email your comment to submissions@smithfieldsun.com. Tell us what story you are commenting on and we’ll post all non-troll comments. For more information on submitting your opinions, please read How to submit a letter to the editor

How can I contribute to the Smithfield Sun?

Are you president of a club? Do you have a subject you are passionate about? Would you like to see more of “X” on the Sun? If you do, contact us about being a regular contributor. Send an email to submissions@smithfieldsun.com or call 435-227-5508.