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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