MEDIA: femail.co.uk health boost

femail.co.uk, the Daily Mail website, is to concentrate on developing interactive services while beefing up health coverage.

The site's new editor, John Lawrence, starts next week, replacing Maria Trkulja. Avril Williams, editorial director of the site's owner, Associated New Media (ANM), said PROs would be important in providing ideas.

Like the Daily Mail itself, which has sections such as Good Health and Self as well as the Femail supplement, femail.co.uk sees health as a 'hot topic'.

'Health is very important to us and we are looking at ideas that are more than two-dimensional print ideas,' Williams said.

She cites the example of an unnamed PR company that last year co-ordinated a femail.co.uk package that put a journalist through a new laser eye-surgery technique. The consultation and operation were streamed online, with the patient shown at her desk the following day.

Williams added: 'The purpose of femail is to be the definitive website for women. We are looking at possible new areas and the integration of e-commerce into editorial in meaningful ways on femail.co.uk and across ANM sites in general. We have already taken tentative steps with the shopping channel.'

femail.co.uk users tend to be younger and more south-east-based than readers of the Daily Mail. Williams said: 'Community is the absolute key: half our site is about getting users together, through chatrooms, message boards and live chats with experts. Whether buying a house or having a baby, femail.co.uk provides very in-depth, useful information.'

A deputy editor is being hired to replace Lawrence. Neither Trkulja nor Williams would discuss Trkulja's future plans.

femail.co.uk is shortlisted in the forthcoming British Press Awards, as is health editor Charlotte Harding.

femail.co.uk was formerly known as CharlotteStreet before being relaunched in late 2000 by ANM.

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