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Church Web site helps media

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Journalists wanting to write about the Church during the 2002 Winter Games have a quick and accurate source of story ideas, doctrines and history — the News Media Resources on the Church's Web site.

This resource, found at the Church's site at www.lds.org, "is a one-stop shopping resource for journalists worldwide and we hope a good opportunity to enhance worldwide understanding of the Church and its beliefs," said Randy Ripplinger, media manager in the Church's Public Affairs Department. The primary purpose of the site, he added, "is to help journalists get accurate stories and background about the Church's doctrines, its history and its people."

Brother Ripplinger, who is also manager of News Media Resources, said the site includes video clips, radio sound bites and high resolution photographs. The site went into development in 1998, first offering news releases from the Church. "Beginning in February 2000, we began a very serious effort to make a full-service Web site for journalists that would include not only news releases, but also story packages, [such as] why we build temples; and why we don't drink coffee, tea and alcohol. We've got about 100 of these story packages."

The Web site is already a "hit," Brother Ripplinger said. He recently helped a television crew from Australia find ideas on the site. Geo Magazine from Germany has used photographs from News Media Resources. "A couple of journalists from Switzerland were in our news resource center (in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building). We have monitors there for access to the Internet. They spent a large amount of time scouring our Web site."

He added that USA Today used photographs from the site in July 2001.

Brother Ripplinger emphasized that News Media Resources is not to override resources provided by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee or the Utah Travel Council. "We're just trying to help journalists do their jobs, get good information and make it easy for them to get [that information]."

Church officials, he added, are just trying to "be good hosts and good community partners."

E-mail: julied@desnews.com