Saturday, April 25, 2009

Nobody Could Have Predicted

And no one under 35 will believe for a second that this is real.

(alt. video link)

What's kind of amazing to me is that for all the prehistoric look to the computers, let alone the electronic newspapers, the way TV news tells a story has not evolved much at all. Change the hairstyles and add some swooshy graphics, and boom -- 1981 would be 2009, just like that.

(h/t: ShortsandPants)

[Added] The YouTuber who posted this clip appears to be the guy who did the reporting -- Steve Newman. More stuff on his channel page, starring him. And really, who doesn't want to watch weather reports from 1973, etc.? It's like a time capsule.

[Added2] You might also like this video covering the dawn of the Internet.


James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

Okay, the first thing that occurs to me--since I'm so superannuated that the effect of comically anachronistic fashions is muted--is just how prescient the guys at the Chronicle were at a time when almost no one had a home computer, and how, at the dawn of the Reagan Mistake, corporations still might try something that wasn't going to make money, on the grounds it was a good idea. If they'd kept it up they might not be on the brink of bankruptcy.

Second is that teevee news reporting has been set in stone, give or take swooshing graphics and color weather radar, since the Happy Talk format of the early 70s, the reaction to Nixon's war on the press and the first concerted right-wing attacks on the Librul Media. Though, maybe not surprisingly, the computer script has changed, from technological marvel only a brainiac could love, to scary realm of the hacker, the bomb-maker, and the pedophile, to a somewhat more benign view now there's money in it, spiced with the occasional Craigslist killer.

(In the late 90s I had an email exchange with a CBS reporter whose name now escapes me, who had said in the middle of a report on some domestic terror bombing/bombing plot that the construction "was the sort of thing you could find on the internet". Wholly gratuitous. I wrote to ask why he'd blamed the internet with absolutely no evidence, and he replied that he hadn't blamed the internet, just said it "might" have come from there. I wrote back to say that I'd found similar info at gun shows and the public library, and the point was why he'd singled out one mathematical possibility seemingly at whim, at which point he apparently decided that I was the sort of crank who listened to CBS News expecting the words to mean something, too small a demo to bother with.)

shortsshortsshorts said...

Oh look who is going on our blog-roll? Hahaha I am such a dirty Communist.

bjkeefe said...


That's an excellent point about the willingness to try new things, although in their defense, quite a few newspapers have continued to try to innovate. I still think of the NYT, especially, as on the leading edge of moving online during dawn of the Web, and I think they deserve credit for continuing to try to do more. I was even one of those saps who paid for TimesSelect; though I thought it was a stupid idea, I was happy to make a gesture of support.

Sad and hilarious story about the CBS reporter. It was Rather, wasn't it? C'mon, you can tell us.


Thanks! And likewise, comrade!

And you should also add the guy who left the comment above. He should be on everyone's Approved Rants list.