The New York Times has always been known as an established, trusted icon for news in the United States. Beginning in 1851, the New York Times has a long history of journalism and spreading information to the masses. Though the medium of reporting news has seen drastic changes as technology becomes more and more refined, the mission of the company remains steady, quoted by the New York Times Company as “to seek the truth and help people understand the world.” With the advent of the World Wide Web in the late 1990s, the New York Times too began to transition and adapt to the future of information sharing on the Internet. With the Way Back Machine website, the different designs and strategies employed by the New York Times on the web can be observed, and insight can be drawn into how the company brands itself to its many consumers.
In the earliest snapshot of the site in 1998, the New York Times appears to adopt a professional, clean image. The information is presented very clearly and directly, with no artistic design distracting from the important news. With the exception of the fancy company logo, presented large and upfront on the webpage, all other headings and summaries are filed and categorized neatly. There is the current date and time, as well as the weather right underneath the logo for easy access to its readers, and a variety of news sections are listed on the left for quick and easy viewing. Aside from the front page stories, there is no other unnecessary information or any obstruction as to provide a convenient, user-friendly experience for visitors of the site. Furthermore, the webpage provides news of every category as to satisfy a large, diverse audience; one can check the stock market’s performance if they are an investor, scout the latest artistic installation if they specialize in critiquing art, or even see who won last night’s big football game for sports connoisseurs. The distinguishing feature of the site is without a doubt the clarity of its contents, intended for quick, easy, and efficient consumption.
In a later snapshot of the page over a decade later in the year 2012, much of the webpage’s core design remains the same. The company is still striving for that sleek, sharp image; however, the site appears to incorporate modern features of Internet companies such as advertisements and even a phone application. Users are prompted to try a digital subscription of their favorite news for a small price, with the option of downloading the app on their cell phone for even faster and more convenient access. Especially considering that the year is 2012, an early stage for cell phones and most phone applications, the New York Times’ quickness to adapt to new modes of communication should be acknowledged. Beyond the few advertisements broadcasting its various services, however, the company webpage does not contain any other company or service’s advertisements. The effort of the company to preserve its pristine, clean look is a parallel to the 1998 webpage snapshot, and a spotless image seems to remain a core value of the company as a whole. Much of the website’s organization of daily news is the same, but one can clearly note the larger variety of news the newspaper now offers its readers. Consumers of the paper can now read up on fashion & style, home & garden, as well as attempt the daily crossword, which would never have been offered as an option a decade prior. These subtle alterations ultimately do not distract from the company’s purpose and representation, both of which are enforced in either version of the webpage and may be a reason to the company’s long term success and dominion.
In the comparison of the New York Times, it is interesting to observe the evolution of the company website alongside the rapid growth of the Internet. Though there are small design differences that can be attributed to the changing times and improving modes of communication, it seems the New York Times website is very consistent in promoting its quality, user-friendly interface of daily, diverse stories. It is no wonder the New York Times has risen to its position of influence and infamy as part of everyday life and culture in the United States and across the globe.
“History | the New York Times Company.” 2019. The New York Times Company. 2019. https://www.nytco.com/company/history/.
“The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia.” 2013. Web.archive.org. June 15, 2013. https://web.archive.org/web/20130615005816/http://www.nytimes.com/.
“The New York Times on the Web.” 1998. Web.archive.org. December 12, 1998. https://web.archive.org/web/19981212020124/http://www.nytimes.com/.