Just a little over 20 years ago… one of the most important news sources in the world went online. The New York Times launched nytimes.com, which went on to become a pioneer in high-quality news online. According to their own article, the official start date was January 22, 1996. The team worked extremely hard and given the technology of the day, it was an impressive accomplishment. Graphics like this:
may not look like much today but when I spoke to one of the creators of the site (he even appears in the picture at the top) he told me it was a convoluted mess of what we think of today as outdated technologies. Fonts on the web were unheard of, and graphics had to be small in order to load quickly over a .05 megabit connection.
This wasn’t the first online news source and it wasn’t the first newspaper to go online, both of those things are true. But you have to think back to the 1990s to realize what a media giant the Times was at that point. CNN was less than a decade old and was still scrambling for credibility. There was no better place to get the kind of news the Times was known for — solid, well-researched reporting. That may still be true… so many sources today try to be first without making sure they’re right.
Congrats to the whole team who contributed, and thanks for making the online world what it is today!