The United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) today launched an E-mail UN News Service, which will bring breaking stories and reports on key UN developments – at headquarters and in the field – straight to the computers and E-mail in-boxes of its subscribers around the globe.”This is a major innovation in the way the UN communicates with the media worldwide,” Shashi Tharoor, the Interim Head of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), told a press briefing at UN Headquarters in New York “Even in the nations where Internet access is not widely available, timely delivery of UN news directly to the desktops of media outlets, public offices, educational institutions or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be a step towards improving public awareness of vital UN events and issues.”By offering direct access to UN news and links to key reports, speeches and quotes by UN officials, Mr. Tharoor said, the E-mail news service will assist the critical work carried out by DPI’s UN Information Centres in responding to the needs of media in their region and enable them to focus more on strategic outreach.The E-mail UN News Service, Mr. Tharoor said, builds on the success of a recently redesigned UN News Centre portal, featuring enhanced search and navigation tools and new database-driven functions. He noted that the technological innovations that have permitted this expanded database capacity and the E-mail delivery system were an example of in-house low-cost enterprise development. He also announced the launch of a redesigned French-language version of the UN News Centre as part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to upgrade the site. Responding to questions from the press, Mr. Tharoor said that the idea behind the new service was to make the job of the correspondents easier by making information about the Organization available to people who would not otherwise have ready access to it. The articles from the UN News Service were made available via E-mail and on the News Centre and the press could run them “as is,” rely on them for possible story ideas or refashion them as they found useful.The Director of DPI’s News and Media Division, Salim Lone, added that the E-mail Service would be particularly useful in those countries which did not have correspondents based at New York Headquarters, including through providing information on what representatives of various nations said in UN debates. He added that while the UN was to a large degree dependant on the Headquarters-based major media organizations to communicate UN news to the world, the Department was doing its best to get the information out. “What this service does is add value to what is already being done by others,” he said. As part of its “portal” function, the site offers easy access to Web pages of key UN newsmakers, including Secretary-General Kofi Annan, his envoys and spokesman, as well as UN peacekeeping operations and various UN agencies and programmes. There are also links to press releases, transcripts of press briefings at UN Headquarters and a wide range of multimedia products and services, including photos and programmes produced by UN Radio and Television.