June 16, 1997 12:00 PM

STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN, EDITOR OF the PEOPLE Online Daily, ingests more news before breakfast than most people do all day. Each morning he’s up at 4:30 a.m. scouring early-edition newspapers, TV news, wire-service reports and online versions of the London papers. Pajama-clad and coffee-fueled, Silverman begins writing a witty summary of showbiz and celebrity goings-on to be posted on our Web site, PEOPLE Online (people.com). Then he heads for work. “I’m very grumpy after 1 p.m. in the office,” he says. “If someone schedules an editorial meeting after in the afternoon, I’m not happy.”

Those who visit PEOPLE Online to read the Daily are happy, it seems, and an ever-increasing number are counting on Silverman’s pop-cultural dawn patrol. More than half a million Internet users a week check out the site’s multimedia features, celebrity profiles, games and other innovative installations. But the Daily gives it hour-to-hour freshness as writers Lorraine Goods and Laura Smith Kay update Silverman’s original early-morning entries. “PEOPLE Online has captured the sound and feel and essence of PEOPLE magazine in a very different medium,” says Dan Okrent, Time Inc. editor of new media. “And readers are responding to it with the same enthusiasm they show for the weekly printed version.”

That success led us to take the Daily a step further: automatic e-mail delivery. More than 20,000 people have signed up for free subscriptions (via the Web at people.com/edaily or through Netscape’s In-Box Direct program). Starting the service took a team effort, led by PEOPLE Online editor Dylan Jones, marketing manager Ken Kantor and technology developer Gautam Guliani. Still, it is Silverman whose words go over the wires—and who receives fan mail from some 200 readers a week. “I get very grateful thank-you e-mails,” he reports, “saying this is the highlight of their day.”

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