Blogs » Your Advocate: an editor's blog » Do you still use the phone book?

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If you're like me, you probably find yourself looking less and less often into a phone book.

Actually, I almost never do. Leafing through pages containing tons of small type just isn't as easy for me as clicking on my computer to find a phone number.

With this user in mind, we've created CrossroadsDining.com. It's a handy, searchable guide to all of our region's restaurants. Data Desk Editor Karla Woodward has updated it with handy information such as prices, wifi availability and cuisine. You also have the ability to offer your review of the restaurants, which is a particularly exciting feature. Online director Terry Owen and programmer Shawn Willmon built into the site a handy Google map. What phone book provides all of this information?

The advantage our service has over any national listing is that we're much closer to the local scene and can update the listings quickly. If you search Yahoo or Google, you're likely to find restaurants that have closed. The restaurant business is a volatile one.

This use of data is one of the many exciting new ways newspapers can grow and serve our audience even better. We'll be looking at ways we can connect these listings with news stories and related advertising. For example, I could see links to the health inspection reports we publish each Wednesday as being useful for diners.

I ate at Hu-Dat for lunch today and highly recommend the Mongolian beef stir-fry. How about you? What restaurants do you recommend?

Please let us know how you like CrossroadsDining.com.