Dated Thursday, September 18, 1851, the newspaper back then was known as The New-York Daily Times. (I love the hyphen.) It was priced at one cent.
I must have walked by that replica thousands of times before I finally paused for a closer look. It was made up mostly of blurbs, many of them just a few sentences long. None was more than five paragraphs. The international news consisted of dispatches from Turkey, Bremen, Bavaria and Prussia, in most cases summarizing local publications rather than offering original reporting. The local New York City reporting was quite chatty, with headlines like “Disturbance by Rival Blacksmiths,” “Run over by an Ice Cart,” and “Women Poisoned.”
Even non-news was news back then. A short dispatch titled “False Alarm” read: “Item gatherer failed to discover the first spark of the fire.” And I was taken with a brief from another edition: “Not Dead.-Mr. John Overho, of Prince street, who was reported to be beyond all medical skill on Saturday, from the effect of coup de soleil, we are glad to learn is likely to recover.”
But what struck me most that day, as I studied that front page, was a single thought.
This looks like a blog.
This is the age of the individual voice, liberated by the new media. Anyone in the younger generation who yearns for a column on the Washington Post op-ed page is seeking oblivion.
I think I’ve accomplished everything I wanted to with this project. I can’t imagine myself blogging about anything else ever again because I feel like I have already blogged about everything and I am just a slave to boring alt memes. It’s probably time to move on and find a real career & some challenges that can actually make the world a better place.
Thanks for the memories. We had a good run. I apologize to every one who I have hurt.
How has Twitter impacted journalism?
It’s made news reporting much more distributed: no photojournalist produced anything like this, for example. It’s massively increased the velocity of news: people now know what’s going on before it’s formally reported. It’s made it easier to find things you didn’t know you were interested in. It’s given journalists a much more human voice, an outlet where they can be themselves. It’s helped build a culture of linking to wonderful stuff. It’s made the world smaller, and it’s made news travel faster than ever. Overall, it’s been great.
Deadspin has more power in its toe nail shavings than in every newspaper combined.
Here’s the dirty little non-secret about Gawker: Nobody knows what anyone else is doing. We sit here manically refreshing our browsers looking for something—anything—to write about that will help you make it through your workday and help us meet our post quota. Somewhere around us, idiots are blogging about cars or video games or some horrible thing like that. As happy as we would be to have some involvement with the business side of things, it is just not the case. Actually, we really wouldn’t. For one thing, Gawker Ad Guy Chris Batty is so dismissive of the editorial team that he refers to us collectively as “Meat” (he refers to Choire as “meat manager”). He’s actually kind of a dick.
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