Sunday, September 30, 2012

All The Judgment That's Fit To Download

"I think that paper and ink are here to stay for the kind of newspapers we print. There’s no shortage of news in this world. If you want news, you can go to cyberspace and grab out all this junk. But I don’t think most people are competent to become editors, or have the time or the interest. . . . You’re not buying news when you buy The New York Times. You’re buying judgment." 
-- Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, in a 1997 interview after he stepped down as chairman of the New York Times Company. Sulzberger died yesterday. He was 86. 

The Times launched its website the year before Sulzberger retired and a century after his grandfather Adolph S. Ochs bought the paper. The Times' Jan. 22, 1996, story about the newspaper's new site helpfully defined the web for readers, as we had to do back then. calling it "the Internet's fastest-growing service, which lets computer users see electronic publications consisting of text, pictures and, in some cases, video and sound." The story also noted that the Times had already been publishing a digital edition called "@times" via America Online since 1994:

"The Web site's global audience means a larger potential readership than that of @times, which is limited to America Online's subscribers, currently more than four million."

(The screen shot from Nov. 22, 1996, above is the earliest New York Times homepage I could find on the Internet's Archive Wayback Machine.)

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