You need to have a memo about the plan, even though there are lots of conversations along the way. Here’s the memo I wrote John Oppedahl (my boss), editor of The Arizona Republic. It outlined our strategy to launch on both AOL and on the Web. And we also had a bulletin board service for home sales.
June 2, 1995
TO: John Oppedahl
FROM: Howard I. Finberg
SUBJECT: Executive Summary/Online Plan
This is an executive summary of Phoenix Newspapers’ Online Plan:
As outlined in the “Online Opportunities” report, PNI will take a multi-platform (or multi-newsstand approach). This will allow PNI to control where content is placed and will provide opportunities to reach readers through different services (America Online, the Internet/World Wide Web server and PNI’s existing bulletin board service). PNI will not sign an “exclusive agreement” with any online service, and hence will be free to take advantage of upcoming opportunities in 1996 and 1997 (e.g. Microsoft Network and New Century Network).
The full memo has more details about staffing and revenue expectations. The revenue was optimistic, but realistic given the AOL bounties.