Guess who's got one of the "coolest" online newspapers in the country? Yours truly.

Two recent polls have ranked the Deseret News' online edition as one of the best in the country.The newspaper's home page is among the top 5 percent of all sites on the Internet, according to Point Survey. The survey is a free service that rates and reviews World Wide Web pages to determine the "most lively, useful and fun" sites on the Net.

The Deseret News also ranked 13th on a survey of the top 25 online newspapers in the world - better than the New York Times TimesFax, CNN and the Orange County Register. The Spring, an Austin, Texas, online service that focuses on the high-tech industry, conducted the e-mail poll to find out what people consider the best sources of online news.

Why? Because the Spring is creating an online edition with the Daily Spectrum and Austin Technology News. It also wants to give its customers access to the top news sources, said Paul Terry Walhus, Austin Technology News publisher.

It launched the poll among members of an Editor and Publisher mailing list, but other people are also sending their recommendations.

As of Saturday, 2,000 people had responded to Spring's poll, Walhus said.

"It will be ongoing and we'll update it weekly much like the AP does the college football poll," Walhus said.

The top ranked online news source, according to Spring, is Nando.net, the online edition put out by McClatchy Newspapers Inc.

"The top two, the Mercury and the Nando Times have been in a very close horse race the whole time," Walhus said.

There are about 400 online newspaper editions, Walhus said.

Since the Deseret News launched its web edition Sept. 27, it has received more than 1.2 million hits from visitors. Last week alone, the Web page recorded 101,623 visits - or an average of 17,299 visits per day and 720.8 an hour, said Will Madison, systems administrator.

"I'm surprised at the heavy usage. I thought it would take us longer to build," said Stewart Shelline, Deseret News director of information services.

Deseret News web page visits have come from across the United States and from 25 different countries, including New Zealand, Taiwan, Chile and France.

The single most visited feature of the online edition is the library, which currently offers access to archives from 1994 and 1995. The second most used feature is local news, Shelline said.

"It's probably one of our most popular sites," said Maggie Hopffgartern, manager for instructional and educational services for Utah Link. Utah Link provides the network that connects schools throughout the state to the Internet.

Utah Link has a hot link directly to the Deseret News web page, Hopffgartern said.

Unlike most online editions, the Deseret News web page is updated in real time. It also includes all the graphics that appear in the regular print edition.

People also say they like it because it's clean and simple to use, Shelline said.

Shelline recently received a telephone call from an Ohio man who said he was addicted to the page and plans to subscribe when the newspaper starts charging an access fee in January.

The Deseret News is moving its page to a more powerful computer and newer software to make it easier to manage and maintain. It will also enhance the search capabilities of users.

"There really is a future for us online," said Steve Hawkins, online editor.

Future additions to the service will include extending the library archive through 1988 and adding the Church News. Already, 671 people have asked to be notified when the Church News is included on the web page, said Will Madison.

The Deseret News web page can be accessed at http://www.desnews.com .

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ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

At the top of the online list

Spring's Top 15 online newspapers

1. Nando.net (McClatchy Newspapers Inc., Raleigh)

2. San Jose Mercury News (San Jose)

3. Wall Street Journal/Money and Investing Update

4. Digital Ink Washington Post Interchange

5. The Telegraph (London)

6. Boston Globe (Boston)

7. Detroit News (Michigan)

8. Access Atlanta (Atlanta)

9. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul)

10. American Reporter (a solely online publication)

11. USA Today

12. Clarinet (newsgroup based)

13. Deseret News (Salt Lake City)

14. Philadelphia Inquirer/Phila Daily News (Philadelphia)

15. New York Times TimesFax (New York City)

As of 11/16/95. To visit the poll, point your web browser at http://www.spring.com