An oral history of the epic collision between journalism and digital technology, 1980 to the present

A project of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

Archive for August, 2013

A rough timeline

Here are a few of the people, companies, and events that have played a role in the collision of technology and media over the past half-century or more.
Vannevar Bush,
Vannevar Bush, 1950.


1945: Vannevar Bush describes the first hypertext system in “As We May Think” (the Memex) in The Atlantic Monthly

1946: ENIAC, the first general purpose computer, revealed to the public

1953: Harley Tillet implements the first online information retrieval system for the U.S. Navy

1962: John Horty demonstrates early legal retrieval service at University of Pittsburgh

1967: Ohio State Bar contracts with Data Corporation in 1967 to develop a full text retrieval system

1969: CompuServe founded as Compu-Serv Network, setting the stage for consumer online services

Apple Jobs
Steve Jobs with the Apple II, 1977.


1970: Mead Data Central created by Don Wilson; leads to LexisNexis

1970: Xerox Parc founded; leads to Alto PC (1973), graphical user interface (GUI), WYSIWYG text editing, laser printing

1973: HBO founded, portending mainstream adoption of cable television

1975: Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen

1976: Broadcast Teletext introduced in England as Ceefax Service

1977: Apple II released

1977: Warner Communications launches QUBE, the first interactive cable service

1979: Broadcast company reach is at its pinnacle in the United States

1979: U.K. Post Office introduces Prestel videotex service

Ted Turner 1985
Ted Turner, 1985.


1980: CNN launches

1981: IBM PC launches with MS-DOS and Intel 8088 processor

1981: Four major New York banks begin “home banking” experiments

1982: USA Today debuts as a national newspaper

1982: The Weather Channel launches

1983: Knight Ridder launches Viewtron

1983: Short-lived Time Teletext experiment launches

1983: Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, the first commercial cell phone, debuts

1985: Quantum Computing (later AOL) founded

1985: The WELL founded by Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant

1985: MIT Media Lab evolves out of Architecture Machine Group

1986: Newspaper videotex experiments (Viewtron, Gateway, others) fade away

1989: Tim Berners-Lee writes proposal for World Wide Web

Marc Andreesen of Netscape, 1996.


1992: America Online has its IPO

1993: Mosaic browser catalyzes the World Wide Web, founded

1994: Yahoo, Netscape, Monster, Amazon, Hotwired, Pathfinder all launched

1995: DoubleClick, Craigslist founded

1995: Netscape IPO

1995:,, and (subscription required) launch

1995: CareerBuilder launches as NetStart

1996: Fox News and MSNBC launch

1997: Classified Ventures launches

1998: Two Stanford students found Google

1999: Pyra Labs launches Blogger

1999: Times Company announces New York Times Digital IPO

Biz Stone, Evan Williams
Twitter cofounders Biz Stone and Ev Williams, 2009.


2000: AOL acquires Time Warner as new decade dawns

2000: The dot-com bust; traditional media retreats

2001: AOL Time Warner merger flops; CEO Gerald M. Levin resigns

2001: Apple introduces iTunes

2002: Google News founded

2003: LinkedIn launched

2004: Google IPO, Facebook and Digg launch

2004: Tim O’Reilly describes “Web 2.0”

2004: Dow Jones buys MarketWatch

2005: Huffington Post and YouTube launch

2005: News Corp. buys MySpace; NYT Co. buys

2006: Twitter, BuzzFeed launch; Google acquires YouTube

2006: McClatchy acquires Knight Ridder for $3.3 billion

2007: News Corp. acquires Dow Jones for $5.6 billion

2007: Sam Zell acquires Tribune Company for $8.2 billion; declares bankruptcy in 2008

2007: Politico founded; Google acquires DoubleClick; Tumblr launches

2007: iPhone debuts, launching the era of apps

2008: CBS buys CNET Networks

2008: Financial collapse and recession send print media companies reeling

2009: Steve Brill and Gordon Crovitz start Journalism Online (now Press+) to enable digital subscriptions

France Huffington Post
Arianna Huffington, 2012.


2010: iPad launches in April

2010: Instagram, Pinterest, Flipboard launch

2011: AOL acquires The Huffington Post

2011: The New York Times’ metered model launches

2011: LinkedIn IPO

2011: News Corp. sells MySpace

2012: New York Times Co. sells

2012: Facebook IPO and acquires Instagram

2013: LinkedIn acquires Pulse news aggregator

2013: Yahoo buys Tumblr for $1.1 billion

2013: New York Times Co. sells The Boston Globe for $70 million

2013: Jeff Bezos buys The Washington Post for $250 million

2014: Facebook acquires WhatsApp for $19 billion

2014: Time Inc. goes public as separate publishing company

2014: Tribune Publishing takes newspaper division public

2015: Millennial news site Elite Daily is acquired by the Daily Mail

2015: Vice closes $400 million deal to provide news content to HBO

2015: Apple Watch launches