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Inside People

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Growing up in Westerham, England, Matt Diebel hoped for a music career. “I had dreams of becoming a songwriter,” says the longtime country music fan, who proposed to his wife, Barbara Zakin, a marketing executive, at a George Jones concert in Atlantic City. “But I got turned into a journalist instead.”

It’s now Diebel’s job to see that PEOPLE’s Web site,, hits all the right notes. Hired in June as its managing editor, Diebel—with the help of’s 23-person staff—has given the Web’s most-visited magazine site a tune-up. Redesigned to make everything easier to find, the new, which made its debut June 25, offers visitors more of what they like best: up-to-the-minute news, celebrity photos and stories from the magazine. “Because we’ve evolved, we thought the site’s design should evolve too,” says general manager Gary Ryan. “Now it has a more sophisticated look.”

All the better to showcase expanded fashion coverage, such as PEOPLE West Coast style editor Steven Cojocaru’s Web-only column, in which he will answer readers’ fashion questions. Other new features include reviews from PEOPLE’s Picks & Pans columns and archives of Where Are They Now? stories. In the next month will add offerings such as PEOPLE senior writer Samantha Miller’s Internet Manners advice column and the popular magazine feature Local Hero. “Before, the Web site didn’t really capture the flavor of the entire magazine,” Diebel says. “That will be changing.”

What will remain the same, we’re certain, is the site’s popularity. “We’re very proud that has become the leading Internet site for news about popular culture,” says PEOPLE deputy managing editor Susan Toepfer. In April, 9.7 million different users visited, 84 percent more than a year ago. Keeping them coming back is up to Diebel, 46, a former assistant managing editor of the Boston Herald, onetime features editor of the New York Post and, most recently, deputy editor of “There will always be something new happening,” he vows. “If the site doesn’t keep improving, I won’t be doing my job.”