(Electronic) Mailing the Editor: Emails, Message Boards and Early Interactive Web Design in the 1990s

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In the mid-to-late 1990s, readers reacted to journalistic accounts of the world around them, from sending emails to posting to message boards on newspaper sites. Some of these practices, especially positive suggestions of sources and conversations with reporters, represent an earlier time's web-optimism, now perhaps lost. This article will explore how design practices, including integrated forums, tabs, indexes and other early site design conventions-sometimes intentional, sometimes not- led to the first generation of online interactions between readers and news workers in the United States, and, to some degree, in the United Kingdom and Canada. This project will explore examples of in-situ design hopes surrounding these early digital connections, and why and how some of that enthusiasm failed to make it into the 2000s and beyond.

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