Developer Phillip Mendonça-Vieira “accidentally collected about 12,000 screenshots of the front page of the nytimes.com” between September 2010 and July 2011. His computer took one image every 30 minutes.
What did he do with the treasure trove? He created a time-lapse video, obviously.
The result is a remarkable document of eight months in the life of the world’s most important paper. It runs through the Chilean miners, the War Tapes, Egypt, the quake in Japan, Libya, and more. (A lot of Marc Jacobs ads.)
But the video is important for reasons beyond simply being cool. It is the type of archive that we soon might lose.
As Mendonça-Vieira writes:
Having worked with and developed on a number of content management systems I can tell you that as a rule of thumb no one is storing their frontpage layout data. It’s all gone, and once newspapers shutter their physical distribution operations I get this feeling that we’re no longer going to have a comprehensive archive of how our news-sources of note looked on a daily basis. Archive.org comes close, but there are too many gaps to my liking.
This, in my humble opinion, is a tragedy because in many ways our frontpages are summaries of our perspectives and our preconceptions. They store what we thought was important, in a way that is easy and quick to parse and extremely valuable for any future generations wishing to study our time period.
Video below (h/t).
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