Every Front Page of The New York Times in Under a Minute: Watch the Evolution of “The Gray Lady” from 1852 to Present

Buck­ling under infor­ma­tion over­load?

The long view can be sooth­ing, as film­mak­er Josh Beg­ley proves in just under a minute, above. The data artist reduced 165 years worth of chrono­log­i­cal­ly ordered New York Times front pages—every sin­gle one since 1852—to a grid of inky rec­tan­gles flash­ing past at light­ning speed.

You won’t be able to make out the head­lines as the front page news whips past to the some­what omi­nous strains of com­pos­er Philip Glass’ ”Dead Things.”

Instead the impres­sion is of watch­ing something—or someone—steadily bear­ing wit­ness.

Obvi­ous­ly, any rep­utable new source does more than sim­ply note the unfold­ing of events. Its read­ers look to it as a source of analy­sis and cri­tique, in addi­tion to well-researched fac­tu­al infor­ma­tion.

The Gray Lady, as the Times has long been known, has recent­ly weath­ered an uptick in slings and arrows from both the left and the right, yet her longevi­ty is not eas­i­ly dis­missed.

Blog­ger Jason Kot­tke watched the video with an eye toward some of the paper’s most notable design changes. His find­ings also remind us of some of the his­toric events to appear on the Times’ front page—Lincoln’s assas­si­na­tion, Nixon’s res­ig­na­tion, and the elec­tion of our first Black pres­i­dent, which it described as a “nation­al catharsis—a repu­di­a­tion of a his­tor­i­cal­ly unpop­u­lar Repub­li­can pres­i­dent and his eco­nom­ic and for­eign poli­cies.”

How many of the over 50,000 front pages fea­tured above were deemed per­son­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant enough to squir­rel away in a trunk or an attic?

Have dig­i­tal archives decreed that this prac­tice will soon gasp its last, along with the print media that inspired it?

What will we use to wrap our fish and line our bird cages?

Read the New York Times 2012 (non-front page) cov­er­age of Apple’s rejec­tion of Josh Begley’s Drone+ app here.

via Kot­tke

Relat­ed Con­tent:

“Titan­ic Sink­ing; No Lives Lost” and Oth­er Ter­ri­bly Inac­cu­rate News Reports from April 15, 1912

The New York Times Makes 17,000 Tasty Recipes Avail­able Online: Japan­ese, Ital­ian, Thai & Much More

The New York Times’ First Pro­file of Hitler: His Anti-Semi­tism Is Not as “Gen­uine or Vio­lent” as It Sounds (1922)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, and the­ater mak­er in New York City.  Her play Zam­boni Godot is play­ing at The Brick in Brook­lyn through tomor­row night. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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