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Elaine Helm Norton

ELAINE HELM NORTON Elaine Helm Norton is the new media editor for The Herald newspaper in Everett, Wash., where she oversees news and multimedia content for She started her career in journalism as military affairs reporter at the Kitsap Sun in Bremerton, Wash.

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Visit NWNavyNews

Project Blog: Northwest Navy News

This participatory site will serve the 140,000 active-duty Navy and Coast Guard members, reservists, base employees and retirees in the Puget Sound area with database-driven, interactive guides to housing, schools, military discounts, and a social network for military spouses and children coping with deployment and family relocation. Project leader Elaine Helm Norton, new media editor at The Daily Herald in Everett, Wash., and a former military beat reporter, envisions a medium for military families in the region to connect with one another and also for journalists like me to connect with them. Nobody in journalism or the military has done much online to engage military families. Follow her progress here. Visit their website.

Launching is Just the Beginning

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I’m a perfectionist. I could keep fussing over details forever. So the toughest part of launching Northwest Navy News so far was letting go of the little things and embracing the idea of the site as a process, not a finished product.

Other journalists turned entrepreneurs, like David Cohn of Spot.Us, advised me to get a site launched quickly with a basic set of features and let it evolve out in the open. I understand why. It’s just tough to resist the urge to perfect everything before sharing it with the world.

The trick is to remember that a Web site is not like a story on a printed page. It’s never finished. Ideas and execution still matter, but ongoing interaction online helps shape a site or an application into something more meaningful than it was in the beginning.

With that in mind, I flipped the switch this month on Please visit and then:

  * Create a profile to become part of the community and interact with other people.
  * Research bases and find out more about living in the Northwest.
  * Read the latest news about housing, deployments, benefits, childcare, military policy and other issues.
  * Find military discounts for businesses and services. If you have an account, you can also share your own favorite discounts by adding them to the list.

I’ll be developing other features as I go. I’m reaching out to the people who I’ve consulted with along the way to get their feedback. I’m also continuing the networking I began on Twitter and setting up a Facebook page to connect with even more people who might be interested in the site.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me in this project so far and celebrated my progress along the way. I’m excited to see how this adventure unfolds from here.

   • Posted by Elaine Helm Norton on 03/11 at 08:33 AM