Back to the Future of Online Newspapers

Check out this 1981 report from a San Francisco TV station about reading newspapers on one’s home computer. I love the shot of the guy connecting his modem — probably 1200 baud at most — using his rotary dial phone. Ah, the good old days, when we worried about baud instead of broadband, and Digital VT100 terminals were the gold standard of network computing. Little did I know, as the 8 year old boy that I was in 1981, that I was witnessing a revolutionary change in our culture when I watched my father connect to “the network” (I don’t remember hearing the word “internet” for another decade, although it may have been in use) to check his email from home…

This recent article in Slate has more on newspapers’ early stabs at online editions.

3 Responses to “Back to the Future of Online Newspapers”

  1. ng says:

    “the twenty cent street edition”!!
    Does the Examiner still exist?

  2. dc says:

    It does still exist, but in very different form. It used to be a Hearst broadsheet, and was William Randolph Hearst’s first flagship paper, but about a decade ago, Hearst bought the higher-circulation Chronicle, and sold off the Examiner. New owners transformed the Examiner into a tabloid, and now it costs even less than 20 cents — it’s free. It’s not much of a newspaper anymore, being more like one of those free commuter tabloids that have popped up in the last ten years.

  3. wordnerd says:

    It’s not a newspaper if it doesn’t blot up spilled coffee.

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