I’ve been tracking news and posts about digital newspapers and came across this post (from the E-media Tidbits blog at PoynterOnline): First Electronic Daily Newspaper Published in 1939?
image from lightningfield.com allowed under a Creative Commons License
The transmittal of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch over the radio to output on a “home facsimile receiver” required 15 minutes to transmit one page! The price of the receivers was about $260. Sounds a lot like the current model of subscribing to newspapers via a wireless e-reader. However, unlike the radio dispatch, now there is no paper involved and the process is much faster and cheaper (though some could argue the ‘cheaper’ aspect).
It’s interesting to see things evolve. Hopefully the evolution of the newspaper will mean the answer to its continuing existence – though I’m not sure how long the term ‘newspaper’ will be around. I think one thing that makes this evolution different than the experiment from 1939 is that readers can be larger participants – rather than passive subscribers. Take, for example, the online radio channel launched by The Journal newspaper in the UK. This raises fascinating questions about how libraries and archives will need to not only capture and preserve digital news content, but also the comments and “radio shows” that are created as a direct result of such content. Imagine not just reading an old newspaper article but being able to read and hear what people thought about it.