Information architecture, quality control and Web site content management have been the focus of my career for the last four years.

But before I became caught in the Net, I was a political and investigative reporter.

In 12 years of writing, I probed everything from the political and legal chicanery of state legislators, county commissioners and lawyers, to the unrestrained growth and questionable quality of the nation's largest rural HMO and its medical system's top heart surgeon. Not to mention award-winning spot news coverage of the TWA flight 800 explosion.

Given my dedication and years of experience, editors and fellow writers would often call on me to help plan and edit stories prior to their publication.

On one such occasion, I was asked to pinch-hit at the last minute and take over the lead for the newsroom's first computer-assisted reporting project. The result was an award-winning, week-long series on the sad state of student housing in the college town of Bloomsburg, Pa., after a deadly fraternity house fire. At the same time, I was probing the campaign finances of the county district attorney, which also became a three-day series.

Since then, I've used computer databases and spreadsheets to sift vast amounts of data to produce tightly written daily and long-term newspaper articles.

Those computer, editing and management skills led to my second career as a Web site content manager. I have since expanded that base to include Web page design and image/multimedia creation, including video streaming (Real, Quicktime and Windows Media) and some Flash.

The results are seen daily by thousands of people around the world on the Web site of the Bucks County Courier Times (http://www.phillyBurbs.com).

In the three years I have run the site, our page views have steadily climbed and it is now the most read online paper in our four newspaper chain in the metropolitan Philadelphia market.

The increase in our site traffic is attributable to superior story selection, the use of all locally produced photos, creative multimedia additions to stories and a willingness to work with the newsroom to produce the best product possible.

I also continue to coach younger reporters on the best way to approach stories and to gather and analyze information. And despite time constraints due to our production process and staffing, I continue to write stories onto our page one several times a year.

I hope this site becomes a repository for those articles as well as a long-term archive for my previous writings. I will add them as I have time.

I hope you enjoy these stories and find them useful.

- Dave Ralis