WITH The Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards getting bigger every year, the Internet Award is one of two new categories for 2007. It is sponsored by The Hunts Post's parent company, Archant Herts and Cambs, which is also behind the Ely Standard, Cambridgeshire Times, Wisbech Standard and a number of titles in Hertfordshire and north Essex. "This is one that Archant Herts and Cambs was very keen to get behind, because there is no doubt that the internet has brought about a fundamental change in the way everyone does business these days," said Paul Richardson, publisher of the Cambridgeshire titles and a former editor of The Hunts Post. "The internet is such a part of our home and business life that it is hard to recall a time when it didn't exist. It has made some communications breakthroughs of a few years ago - I'm thinking about the fax - almost obsolete. "Some people are predicting that the speed and convenience of the internet will hasten the demise of newspapers and magazines, the primary media we currently operate in, but that will not be the case," he added. "People said television would kill off radio, but there are more radio stations now than ever and much more variety of output than ever before." Mr Richardson predicted that what would happen to print was that the new medium would be embraced by forward-thinking companies and the traditional products would have to adapt, to take on a new role. "The Hunts Post website was one of the best weekly newspaper sites in the UK and we have constantly improved it ever since. The website means our journalists, who constantly beat those on daily titles or television and radio to the best local news and sports stories, can, for the first time, prove it to everyone by actually publishing them first... and that's happening every single day of the week. "Another benefit of the website to us is the way it can record reading patterns. We know which stories generate the most interest and we can tailor our content to what people want. "Another great advantage is the ability to archive and search for stories and other items and that people can interact through the website... for instance, on issues such as St Ives Corn Exchange, the Forty Foot road, the Warren Hay petition, the prospect of Wetherspoons opening a pub in St Neots: the list goes on and on," he said. "And the internet is great for our advertising partners, because it means they can contact their existing and many new customers in many varied ways, in print or on line. All by having one contact at The Hunts Post. And it means they can engage with those customers in new ways, by using e-mail, for example. "We also intend to use The Hunts Post website as a gateway to parent company Archant's big commercial sites, such as Jobs24 and Homes24, which attract people from all over the world as well as just around the corner. "The internet has changed our working habits and how we do business, and we are particularly keen to see how others in Huntingdonshire are making the most of it. I think the internet fits ideally with the types of small, energetic, talented businesses this area spawns and cultivates, so it will be interesting to see how those businesses that enter for this award are using the web to their own best effect.