Fifteen years ago today, WRAL TechWire as it is known now formally launched for business under the name “Local Tech Wire,” TechWire for short. Just for fun, here’s the launch story as published that day. Let’s all be retrospective for a moment …

  • Where were you in 2002?
  • What was the Triangle like?
  • North Carolina?
  • Our country?
  • Our world?

They are all vastly different – but the core mission of WTW (which was purchased by Capitol Broadcasting in December 2005) remains the same.

For those who might not know, I was “The Skinny” editor then as now, although I really am much skinnier (down 50 pounds – mostly hair loss, I think). Allan Maurer, my co-founder, remains a frequent and extremely important contributor. (Thank you, Allan.) LTW’s original chairman, Andy Agrawal, is still a very successful tech executive in Charlotte.

So join us in a look back … There will be more to come as WTW revisits its past and talks about the future. But for now, here’s that original post.

Welcome To “LocalTechWire”: Our Business Is All About Covering Technology is officially open for business today, offering readers a wide variety of stories about the people, the issues and the companies driving the high-tech economy in the Carolinas and Atlanta.

We’re in for a wild ride, and we at LTW hope you enjoy the trip. And please pardon our dust. After all, we are a start-up.

Also, please don’t number us among those who think that high-tech is dead, that entrepreneurship is threatened, that venture capitalists who will fund a startup are an endangered species. Why, we think there are many “dot coms” who deserve to be written about even as many other media outlets have cut back on coverage, space and resources. To them, “dot com” has become a bad word. To us, “dot com” means a story to cover — good or bad.

Many “dot coms” bombed; but “” hasn’t. Far from it.

Energy is still abundant among the high-tech sector. And we want to report what that energy produces.

Want proof there is no energy shortage? More than 500 people are in RTP today to attend a venture capital and financing conference put on by the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.

LTW’s agenda as outlined by Andy Agrawal, the chairman of our company and a co-founder, is demanding. He’s been through startups and “dot coms” before. … And our hopes are high. But it is our readers who will determine whether we are successful. Why is that, you ask?

Because we are a subscription-based news service.

We’re out to earn your business

We have been up front about this sensitive subject from the start. People are used to getting a free ride on the Net. Those days are coming to an end after publishers have bled billions and a service we admired greatly,, went the way of the dinosaur.

It’s our job at LTW to convince readers the content we produce and the features our site offers are worth $9.95 a month.

Each day Wall Street is open for business, so will we.

When major news breaks on other days, we’ll be on it.

You can expect to see 30 or more stories a week just about high tech on our site.

How? LTW has assembled as fine a team of writers as there is in the Southeast to cover tech news up and down the I-85 corridor. Veterans of LocalBusiness are on board, from co-founder of LTW Allen Maurer to Cal Chang Yocum. Charles Davidson, a former editor at digitalsouth magazine, will be covering Atlanta for us. In addition to them we have experienced business writers in RTP and Charlotte. You will see several of their bylines in today’s editions.

Yes, that’s right. Editions.

LTW will be updated throughout the day as stories develop. And we soon will offer readers e-mail alerts when news breaks.

We don’t believe you will find LTW dull. Our writers are putting together lively, entertaining stories. While we want to present the facts, we also want to do so with some flair — causing a chuckle as you scroll up and down, cup of coffee in hand. We also promise some bite. Not everyone is going to like what we report.

When we have to be tough, we will be. That comes with the territory. But we also promise to be fair.

What will we cover?

So how do we define our coverage areas?

“Tech” covers a lot of ground. Biotech. Life sciences. Internet. Network. Telephony. Software. E-commerce. Yes, even “dot coms.” And there will be more.

The types of stories will be varied each day, too. Investigative reporting. In-depth company profiles. Interviews with executives, movers and shakers, and maybe some people you’ve never heard about but have had a big influence on the high-tech industry.

LTW also offers more than straight news. We’re building a regional calendar. We’ve set up forums so people can discuss stories and other issues pertinent to the tech community. We have an Editorial Page. We call those Op/Ed pieces, as they are called in journalism, “Say Something.” If you have something to say, let’s hear it.

CED’s Monica Doss speaks out today. So does William Dunk, an international consultant in Chapel Hill. And be sure to check out the anti-AOL Time Warner column we are reprinting from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

It’s our hope that this first version of LTW is something you like. But we know we can do better. We hope you will give us plenty of feedback. Your comments will help shape where LTW goes from here.

‘Dot com’ lessons learned

Among the many lessons to be learned from the “dot com” disaster and the lingering recession is a major one. “Free content” is not a successful business model. This week, Yahoo! began to charge for searches, joining such previously all-free sites as Salon and ESPN in setting aside areas for “premium” content. And given the sad state of the nation’s newspaper industry it won’t be long before they begin charging, too.

“the insider,” a political daily published and edited in Raleigh by Gene Wang for NANDO Media is a perfect example of a Web product that has succeeded. “the insider” is approaching 10 years of age, having started as a daily fax delivery under the guidance of Seth Effron. The Wall Street Journal online has 600,000 subscribers. Some online ventures are succeeding.

With your help, LTW will join that list.