RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.- Some questions have popped up about the redesign of WRAL Local Tech Wire. Let’s talk about them.

No. 1 Concern: The “First Edition” E-mail

The first concern as expressed by readers deals with our “First Edition.” It is delivered each business day at 8 a.m. to registered subscribers through Web-based e-mail. The new look includes a snapshot, if you will of the Local Tech Wire “front page” as it appears at delivery time and includes imbedded links to stories.

Under the old format, stories published over the previous 24 hours were listed in the e-mail in the order they had appeared online.

Since the revised LTW front page includes many more stories than before and packages them in different categories, the new e-mail doesn’t identify which stories are the newest. We’ve had a couple of people complain that they must spend too much time sorting through the stories to find the latest material.

To remedy that concern, we’re working on a means of identifying “new” stories in the e-mail edition. We hope to offer a solution very shortly.

The number of stories published by LTW has not decreased. In fact, since information – including photos – is now available from The Associated Press, we will be increasing the amount of content on the site. True to the “Local” part of our name, however, wire stories will be selected for their relevance to the communities and companies we cover.

No. 2 Concern: The Archive

I received a phone call from a reader looking for a story published recently about a local company. She couldn’t find it despite using the LTW search engine.

Good point. Here’s the reason: We are in the process of moving the archive from another Web site host to LTW’s new provider.

As soon as that move is complete, LTW readers will have better access to a database that now exceeds 15,000 stories.

I say “better” because the search engine is a quantum leap in terms of improvement over the old one.

No. 3. What’s Ahead

LTW is nearing its fifth birthday. We launched in January of 2002. Never before has the site offered as many photographs. Soon, we’ll be including slide shows, video and audio.

Please feel free to send me your questions or concerns about the new look of LTW. We welcome suggestions about how we can improve the site and our coverage.

My plan was to write today’s blog about some of the top performances by entrepreneurial companies in 2006. But I felt your concerns needed to be dealt with first.

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Rick Smith is editor of Local Tech Wire.