By Steve Outing
Back in 1994, I started an Internet e-mail discussion list called Online-News. It became, I think it’s fair to say, the primary online meeting place for the pioneers in online news media. The list still exists today, hosted by the Poynter Institute (my former employer), though it’s not as active as it used to be.
Howard Owens was curious about the archives of the Online-News discussion from the “early days,” so he hunted around and found some stuff that even I don’t have. In the list’s earliest days (1994-95), it wasn’t archived properly; I have only a piecemeal smattering of list discussion on some old e-mail back-up disks. Poynter’s archive of Online-News goes back only to 2002.
Owens has written a blog post about his research into the Online-News archives. New-media historians might find some of this interesting.
What I remember most from the first year or two of the list was arguments about the pros and cons of news companies hooking up with proprietary online services like Prodigy, America Online, Delphi, Interchange and Compuserve vs. the World Wide Web. Not everyone in 1994 immediately grasped the significance of the Web.