Going online created more opportunities for newspapers, such as competing with broadcast journalism in presenting breaking news in a more timely manner. The credibility and strong brand recognition of well-established newspapers, and the close relationships they have with advertisers, are also seen by many in the newspaper industry as strengthening their chances of survival. The movement away from the printing process can also help decrease costs.
Online newspapers are much like hard-copy newspapers and have the same legal boundaries, such as laws regarding libel, privacy and copyright, also apply to online publications in most countries, like in the UK. Also in the UK the Data Protection Act applies to online newspapers and news pages, as well as the PCC rules in the UK. But the distinction was not very clear to the public in the UK as to what was a blog or forum site and what was an online newspaper. In 2007, a ruling was passed to formally regulate UK based online newspapers, news audio, and news video websites covering the responsibilities expected of them and to clear up what is, and what isn't, an online publication.
News reporters are being taught to shoot video and to write in the succinct manner necessary for the Internet news pages. Many are learning how to implement blogs and the ruling by the UK's PCC should help this development of the internet. Some newspapers have attempted to integrate the internet into every aspect of their operations, i.e., reporters writing stories for both print and online, and classified advertisements appearing in both media; others operate websites that are more distinct from the printed newspaper. The Newspaper National Network LP is an online advertising sales partnership of the Newspaper Association of America and 25 major newspaper companies.
An early example of an "online only" newspaper or magazine is "News Report", an online newspaper created by Bruce Parrello in 1974 on the PLATO system at the University of Illinois. Beginning in 1987, the Brazilian newspaper Jornaldodia ran on the state owned Embratel network, moving to the internet in the 1990s. By the late 1990s, hundreds of U.S. newspapers were publishing online versions, but did not yet offer much interactivity. One example is Britain's Weekend City Press Review, which provided a weekly news summary online beginning in 1995.
Very few newspapers in 2006 claimed to have made money from their websites, which were mostly free to all viewers. Declining profit margins and declining circulation in daily newspapers forced executives to contemplate new methods of obtaining revenue from websites, without charging for subscription. This has been difficult. Newspapers with specialized audiences such as The Wall Street Journal and The Chronicle of Higher Education successfully charge subscription fees. Most newspapers have an online edition, including The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, Mid Day, and The New York Times.
In Australia, some newspapers corporations offer an online version to let their readers read the news online, such as The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald.
The true online only paper is a paper that does not have any hard copy connections. An example of this is an independent web-only newspaper, introduced in the UK in 2000, called the Southport Reporter. It is a weekly regional newspaper that is not produced or run in any format other than 'soft-copy' on the internet by its publishers, PCBT Photography. Unlike blog sites and other news websites, it is run as a newspaper and is recognized by media groups in the UK, such as the NUJ and/or the IFJ. They fall under the UK's PCC rules. Another example is the Atlantic Highlands Herald, a New Jersey based web-only daily newspaper published in the US since 1999. Even print media is turning to online only publication. As of 2009, the collapse of the traditional business model of print newspapers has led to various attempts to establish local, regional or national online-only newspapers - publications that do original reporting, rather than just commentary or summaries of reporting from other publications. An early major example in the U.S. is the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which stopped publishing after 149 years in March 2009 and went online only. In Scotland, in 2010, Caledonian Mercury became Scotland's first online-only newspaper, with the same aims as Southport Reporter in the UK, with The Yorkshire Times following suit and becoming Yorkshire's first online-only paper in 2011.
In the US, technology news websites such as CNET, TechCrunch, and ZDNet started as web publications and enjoy comparable readership to the conventional newspapers. Also, with the ever-rising popularity of online media, veteran publications like the U.S. News & World Report are abandoning print and going online-only.
There are some newspapers which are predominantly online, but also provide limited hard copy publishing An example is annarbor.com, which replaced the Ann Arbor News in the summer of 2009. It is primarily an online newspaper, but publishes a hard copy twice a week.
- "Newspapers Recreate Their Medium" eJournal USA, March 2006 LINK
- UK Copyright Law info. website
- Data Protection Act 1998
- See Journalism Mag. and also the PCC website AOP (UK Association of Online Publishers)
- New York Magazine Holdings LLC also see Interactive Features of Online Newspapers by Keith Kenney, Alexander Gorelik and Sam Mwangi First Monday, volume 5, number 1 (January 2000) and also UK's PCC website press release.
- Schultz, Tanjev (1999). "Interactive Options in Online Journalism: A Content Analysis of 100 U.S. Newspapers". Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 5 (1): 1. doi:10.1111/j.1083-6101.1999.tb00331.x.
- Jason Deans, 2005-12-08. "Gervais to host Radio 2 Christmas show." The Guardian.
- The Atlantic Highlands Herald is recognized by the New Jersey Senate and Assembly as New Jersey's first official electronic newspaper. 
- AnnArbor.com AnnArbor.com - Geoff Larcom. (retrieved 24 Aug. 2009).
- AnnArbor.com AnnArbor.com - About Us section. (retrieved 24 Aug. 2009).
- Herre van Oostendorp and Christof van Nimwegen (September 1998). "Locating Information in an Online Newspaper". Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 4 (1).
- McAdams, Melinda (July 1995). "Inventing an Online Newspaper" (– Scholar search). Interpersonal Computing and Technology 3 (3): 64–90.[dead link]
- Hsiang Iris Chyi and George Sylvie (1998). "Competing With Whom? Where? And How? A Structural Analysis of the Electronic Newspaper Market". Journal of Media Economics 11 (2): 1–18. doi:10.1207/s15327736me1102_1.
- CARINA IHLSTRÖM, MARIA ÅKESSON, an STIG NORDQVIST (2004-07-07). "FROM PRINT TO WEB TO E-PAPER — THE CHALLENGE OF DESIGNING THE E-NEWSPAPER" (PDF).
- Hanluain, D. O. (2004-02-13). "Free content becoming thing of the past for UK's online newspaper sites". Online Journalism Review.
- Hsiang Iris Chyi and Dominic L. Lasorsa (2002). "An Explorative Study on the Market Relation Between Online and Print Newspapers". Journal of Media Economics 15 (2): 91–106. doi:10.1207/S15327736ME1502_2.
- List of online Newspapers by country at NewspaperIndex
- Online newspapers at DMOZ
- Online archive of newspapers at Google News Archive