As of Wednesday, the Virgin Islands has three on-line daily newspapers: St. Thomas Source, launched last Jan. 15; St. Croix Source, which made its debut on July 15; and now St. John Source, which has Dec. 1 as its official start-up date.
The latest source can be found at www.stjohnsource.com.
Shaun A. Pennington is the founding publisher and owner of the Source newspapers. "It was our intention to expand from our start-up with St. Thomas Source as market conditions were right," she said. "All indications now are that St. John is ready, willing and eager to have its own daily paper."
St. John Source, like its sister publications, will offer continuously updatable local news, features, commentary, resource data and other general interest newspaper information. Its target audiences include St. John residents, other Virgin Islanders, former residents, off-island property owners and former, present and potential future visitors -- plus anyone else in the world with an interest in the island.
"St. John will be well served by having its own voice, its own Source presence," Pennington said. "We have every reason to anticipate the same kind of community support and input that we have been receiving on St. Thomas and St. Croix."
Stories have been posted on a prototype St. John Source for several weeks. However, there has been no public announcement of web site access until its official launch now.
The new on-line publication can be found on the Internet at or . Like its sister publications, St. John Source is made available through OnePaper Inc., an innovative Florida-based firm providing the "platform" and national news and weather information for on-line community newspapers in the Virgin Islands and elsewhere.
St. Thomas Source, the flagship OnePaper publication, has grown in daily readership from 1,000 per day last February to more than 4,500 per day now. St. Croix Source, the second-most-accessed OnePaper property, has grown steadily in its four and a half months to 1,500 readers a day.
"These are grassroots newspapers," Pennington said. "Each has its own character reflective of its community. St. John Source has a V.I. National Park section, as the park plays a major role in the St. John scene."
All three papers "reach local readers looking for accurate, complete and unbiased news and insightful commentary about their home, and they will always be out primary target audience," she said. "But because we are electronic, every day we also instantly reach hundreds of people around the world who also have a vested interest in keeping up with the news here."
Furthermore, she added, "We know that we are read faithfully by the major decision-makers in government and the private sector -- here at home, in the nations capital and beyond."
On-line newspapers are the mass communications growth industry of the new millennium, Pennington said. Statistics show that 25 percent of Americans today get their news on-line. Studies have repeatedly found that approximately 60 percent of all Internet users go on-line to get information.
The Source papers are supported solely by advertising. They offer the only viable means for providers of goods and services to reach both the local community and a global audience simultaneously and instantaneously, at rates that are very competitive. Rate sheets are available by calling 777-8144, faxing to 777-8136 or e-mailing to email@example.com.
Pennington first came to the Virgin Islands in 1967. Her extensive background in management, advertising, public relations and writing includes work as a senior account executive with Austin Advertising on St. Thomas and as a principal of AdOne, an ad agency in Rochester, NY.
St. John Source will be managed by Jean Etsinger, a freelance journalist in the territory for 17 years who has been a Source contributing editor for four months. She was editor of the V.I. Business Journal for four years and of the St. Thomas-St. John Vacation Handbook for three and for the previous two years directed the journalism program at the University of the Virgin Islands. Her weekly Scene & Herd arts and entertainment column, which has appeared for 14 years in various local publications, has now moved to the St. Thomas and St. John Source papers.
Pennington is managing editor as well as publisher of St. Thomas Source. St. Croix Source is managed by Jamie Bate, former managing editor at the St .Croix Avis and editor at the Daily News. Continuing as Source premiere volunteers and advisors are Penny Feuerzeig, executive editor of The V.I. Daily News when the paper won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and numerous other national awards; and Frank J. Jordan, former NBC news executive and dean of the American University Communications School, who headed the UVI journalism program for many years until retiring in 1994.
Additionally, businessman Jose Penn has volunteered to be the primary advisor on St. John Source.
"With well over 10,000 Virgin Islands residents having Internet access, and the world going the way it is," the Source publisher said, "our papers have only one way to grow: up."