Community Interview: Sonic News Webmaster Sonic_Hedgehogs

Famous for Sonic News. Growing to be the biggest Sonic News sites online… until it hit problems. After a chat with Dread, the two became best of buddies, and the two worked alongside each other heading up SSNG. Now though, Sonic News is back and kicking, as an active and integral section of The Sonic Stadium. You love it. ^_^

TSS: Dreadknux here from The Sonic Stadium, sat here with Sonic_Hedgehogs (aka Andrew Paulson) who runs the ‘Sonic News’ fansite. Andrew, thanks for your time to do this interview.

SH: My pleasure. ^_^

TSS: Firstly, for those that don’t know, tell the Sonic world what your place is in the community.

SH: Well, I’m the webmaster of the website Sonic News. I try my best to bring news and content daily, which might be why Sonic News has gotten so popular in such short while.

TSS: Sonic News has had a great impact since the turn of 2001. Was the site always intended for news, as the name suggests?

SH: Sonic News was intended for content at first but as you can see, now it has a lot of information. Though, Sonic News stands for Sonic Team News, where you can find up to the minute news on anything related to Sonic and Sonic Team. News like release dates for SA2 Battle or PSO PC, to comic previews and when SatAM DVDs will be released.

TSS: How did the idea for Sonic News come about?

SH: Being a fan of Sonic games for a while now, Sonic News at first wasn’t set out to be anything like sites such as the Sonic Foundation and Sonic HQ – though now it’s shaping out to be in under a year. My dad had a computer at his house years back, where I surfed the web for Sonic sites. I found one called ‘Sonic Info Site’ and liked the idea: I wanted to create one of my own. A year later my mom decided to buy a computer and from then on I created Sonic News.

TSS: Why did you call your site Sonic News? Obvious question, really.

SH: When I first created Sonic News, it had no name, this was back in December 20th of 2000. I had a few sections, like a Sonic Adventure 2 preview, comics, and links, but not much info besides. I decided a few days later to create a news section. Suddenly I was emailed by fans saying I had great news, and there ya have it – I decided to call it Sonic News.

TSS: You are known for your ‘Sonic News’ (see how I did that?), but there is plenty of other worthy Sonic content. Is your knowledge based on pure Sonic fandom?

SH: Well no, I know tons of other stuff. I get into other games as well like Metal Gear Solid and Syphon Filter type games, or NFL and NBA type games. If you look around in Sonic News you’ll see my site isn’t just about Sonic but Sonic Team, with news of other Sonic Team games and information as well.

TSS: Like The Sonic Stadium, Sonic News has grown in terms of content and information. Will there be any more Sonic additions to your site as time passes?

SH: This year you can expect tons of new features. In the near future a new version of the Encyclopedia will be made, along with more music, a completed Game List section, and monthly-to-weekly interviews (already in progress). Other things to expect would be more and more updates, on a daily basis.

TSS: You’ve been nominated for an ‘Emmy’ by TSSZ, and several ‘Sonic Site Awards’ by The Sonic Stadium. How does that make you feel, based on the achievements made since December 2000?

SH: I feel surprised that I could create a site in under a year and have so many fans of it already. I’d say I feel very happy to know my site impacts the internet community.

TSS: Many Sonic fanatics that have been dedicated to Sega and Sonic since the beginning can almost predict what the future holds for Sonic. As well as news, can you make such predictions now?

SH: I predict that Sonic will become an icon like Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, an icon of the gaming world. But I think Sonic will get more and more popular year by year. Since Sonic will be heading to other game systems like the Gamecube, this will bring Sonic to more and more people, making more fans. The future looks great (or way past cool) for Sonic.

TSS: Alright, now it just HAS to be asked: SEGASonic (Fleetway STC) or Archie ‘SatAM’ Sonic (…erm, Archie Comics obviously)?

SH: Most definitely SEGASonic, since SEGA started Sonic from the begining. Though STC and Archie Sonic are great and all, they don’t bring out the most of Sonic that SEGA and Sonic Team do.

TSS: What’s your weirdest Site Fan Mail? Go on, spill.

SH: It would have to be this one email asking for my autograph. They had mistaken me for the blue blur himself!

TSS: How tough has maintaining your site been, through the time it has been open? Any webmaster would have sympathy in this area.

SH: As tough as it gets, Mr. Dread. The work webmasters like you and I do to make visitors happy isn’t always fun but it pays off. Though I do get unhappy fans who don’t know the work that gets put into my site.

TSS: Damn straight. It’s the public that count after all. Evidently, what did the site used to look like before its lush new look?

SH: Ouch… you don’t wanna know… well actually, head to the History page and you can check out old pages from an older version. The pages are from around Jan 2001 so you’ll get the idea. The pages were very plain with bad grammar, ugly backgrounds that hide text and broken links. After a year’s experience, I seem to get smarter and better at HTML day by day.

TSS: Every webmaster takes pride in their work. What’s the area on your site that you are most proud of?

SH: Besides everything, I’d say the Encyclopedia I started half a year ago which has hundreds of definitions from every Sonic universe.

TSS: Finally, what’s the future for Sonic News?

SH: My biggest dream for the future would be an interview with the man who started it all – Yuji Naka. Though a dream for the future of Sonic News itself is for the fans of my site to hold. Many fans take a big part as I listen to their comments, change things for them and help them to make Sonic News a better place.

TSS: Andrew, webmaster of Sonic News, thanks for your time. Peace. For anyone who’s interested in checking out the awesome Sonic News, you can find it right here.

SH: No problemo Dread, keep up the work on that fab site of yours, The Sonic Stadium.

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Founder of The Sonic Stadium and creator/co-organiser of the Summer of Sonic convention. Loves talking about Sonic the Hedgehog in his spare time. Likes Sonic Colours a little too much for his own good, apparently.