The Internet (although created years earlier) became popular or ‘mainstream’ towards the end of the 90s, and really took off in the 21st century. So much so, that in 2002, there were over 631 million internet users worldwide. But what’s surprising, is that until recently (the last 10 years) there were not many online news websites that offered a ‘different’ take on news.
Of course, most of the major UK news outlets, such as the BBC and ITV, got online early, perhaps correctly anticipating the huge impact of the Internet. In fact, both these organisations came online in the 90s (ITV in 1994 and BBC in 1997).
Here’s a screenshot of BBC’s website from 1998, which makes me feel physically ill.
But what I find interesting, is that websites we have come to rely on, such as Buzzfeed or The Huffington Post, are far more recent creations. (Buzzfeed was created in 2006, and The Huffington Post just a year earlier in 2005). These websites were groundbreaking in their style, offering more than just solid news, which makes them stand out ahead of more traditional news websites.
So it appears that until midway through the noughties, websites like these simply didn’t exist. I personally can’t imagine the Internet without these ‘lighter’ news outlets, that offer a refreshing, more user-friendly angle than the likes of BBC, ITV or any other major outlet.
Just for fun, here’s another horrible screenshot, this time, taken from CNN’s site in 2000.