The life & death of the Asian-American Web site Channel A
This column appeared in the September 1998 issue of The American Journalism Review.
The tension between editorial and commercial interests plays out in interesting new ways in Web publications. Usually, a balance is struck. But sometimes, journalism is the first casualty.
Steve Chin, co-founder of the Asian-culture Web site Channel A, discovered that first-hand. His experience makes for a cautionary tale as the Internet move headlong toward e-commerce, or electronic transactions.
Chin, a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner for eight years, left the paper in the spring of 1996 to launch a Web site for Asian-Americans. Other niche sites had just taken off: NetNoir, geared toward African-Americans, Latino Link and others.