George Schlukbier

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George Schlukbier is the North American innovator who in the 1990s built Nando, one of the early websites offered by a daily newspaper (The News & Observer of Raleigh, North Carolina), and NandO Times, an early and much-copied online newspaper. He later built Total Sports as an early online sports information source.

NandO[edit]

In 1993, The News & Observer hired Schlukbier as director of its newly formed New Media division.

Editor Frank Daniels III set Schlukbier to work creating an on-line presence for the N&O. Schulkbier assembled a technical and editorial staff to carry out his ideas for an interactive service that would appeal to young people—a crucial and shrinking readership for U.S. newspapers. His first step was to purchase an existing internet access provider. Then he joined with the N&O Newspapers in Education program to make NandO IAP access free to all North Carolina schools. Once familiar with the internet and with NandO's offerings, students wanted access to its chatrooms and games at home.

Schlukbier, the vice-president of NandO, worked with Daniels, Seth Effron, and Eric Harris in developing Nando Times as an interactive online newspaper offering a full menu of news, sports, and features from local to international. It became forerunner of the hundreds of such newspaper sites that popped up over the following decade.

Total Sports[edit]

McClatchy Newspapers (coincidentally, Schlukbier's former employer) purchased the News & Observer and its chain of smaller publications in 1995. Frank Daniels III left the newspaper, which had been owned and run by generations of his family, in favor of online ventures such as KOZ community news. He took Schlukbier with him.

Daniels merged KOZ with Total Sports Publishing of Kingston, New York, known for its Total Baseball encyclopedia. The publishing arm, under founder John Thorn, continued to produce highly regarded sports books, including Total Hockey. Schlukbier became president and chief operating officer of Total Sports, charged with building a multifaceted online sports news information service. Assembling a staff made up, in large part, of the same people who had helped create NandO, Schlukbier accomplished this. The company offered subscribers instant access to scores, statistics and standings. Total Sports' landed a contract with the collegiate Atlantic Coast Conference to provide live online coverage of ACC games, a novelty at the time.

A falling out with Daniels and the board of directors led to Schlukbier's resignation from Total Sports in May 2000. The company was sold later that year to Quokka Sports, Inc., of San Francisco.

Beginnings[edit]

Born in 1951 in Germany, Schlukbier was the younger of two sons of a career U.S. military officer. His father was of German-American immigrant stock and his mother was of Norwegian-American extraction. The family lived on or near Air Force bases around the United States as the boys grew up. George Schlukbier spent his teen years and early adulthood in San Diego, California. After graduating from the University of California, San Diego, with a degree in comparative literature, he moved to Vermont and then to Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where he earned a master's degree in library science from McGill University.

Canadian career[edit]

Settling north of Toronto, Ontario in the 1970s, Schlukbier founded Info Bank, a company that was ahead of its time in anticipating the information age. Although the time and technology for Info Bank had not arrived, the experience he gained pointed to his later work with internet companies. He also worked as a newspaper librarian in Toronto.

As a public librarian in York Township, Ontario, Schlukbier helped bring the library into the new age of digital catalogues and computer access.

Return to California[edit]

Schlukbier returned to California in the 1980s when Gregory Favre, executive editor of the Sacramento Bee, hired him to update its news "morgue," or newspaper library. From Sacramento, Schlukbier began reaching out to the Bee's sister newspapers in communities including Fresno, California, Anchorage, Alaska, and Kennewick, Washington. For the Bee's parent company, McClatchy he became point man in coordinating new technology for information storage and retrieval. This work brought him to Daniels' attention.

Digital news archives[edit]

Schlukbier in 2004 accepted a position with the Office of Strategic Initiatives at the U.S. Library of Congress, to shape its efforts in digital preservation of newspapers and other periodicals. In 2006 he joined Content Conversion Specialists of Hamburg, Germany, a technology company serving publishers, libraries, archives, and other repositories of printed matter in need of digital conversion.

Later projects[edit]

From 2011 to 2013 Schlukbier served as editor-in-chief of Best Thinking, a general-interest website, and Thinker Books, its affiliated e-book publishing enterprise. He left that position to concentrate on the print-publishing company Black Kettle Books, which he co-founded and which he operates as managing partner, and on a reconstituted Total Sports (again teamed with John Thorn, among other partners), which is now a developer of sports information apps for smart phones and tablet devices. .

External links[edit]

  • Columbia Journalism Review [1]
  • Exploring the New Media, UVa Continuing Education [2]
  • National Digital Newspaper Project Architecture [3]
  • Raleigh News & Observer news archive [4]
  • Library of Congress Digital Preservation [5]
  • Content Conversion Specialists [6]
  • The McClatchy Company [7]
  • NandO becomes McClatchy Interactive [8]
  • Edgar Online [9]
  • Triangle Business Journal [10]
  • Schlukbier Consultants [11]
  • Best Thinking [12]
  • Thinker Books [13]