Making stuff as a founder of Avocado. Former music-maker. Tuna melt advocate. Started Google Reader. (But smarter people made it great.)

Time Magazine, America's Online Newspaper of Record?

I really like looking at archived magazines. Snooping in on the past's reaction to the past is enjoyably voyeuristic for me. I once had a collection of music reviews that were decades to centuries old from Europe and America that I would occasionally read when I had time or needed a break.

Until I used it, I didn't quite know that I'd been waiting for Google News Archive Search or something like it. I don't have a Lexis/Nexis account or anything similar and so searching online over a bunch of old sources turns out to fit that diversion nicely. But, as is commonly noted, many newspapers are charging for the archives, ensuring that I'm likely to never see them.

Many news sources are charging ... except for Time Magazine. And, after a few nights of archive spelunking, Time quickly became a more authoritative source for my search results than any other. At least for those events that were within the scope of my query and that were paid attention by mainstream US media at the time. Turns out I'm fine with the shift in my personal news canon. New York Times ... Boston Globe ... Washington Post ... Los Angeles Times ... Time Magazine ... I think I could be happy with any number of periodicals feeling like the single go-to archive source as Time has recently become. I'm sure there's been interesting stuff in all of them, but I won't get any farther than speculating about their value since I can't see all of their stuff.

So, Time Magazine is great. I think of Time in a different light, with more respect, I think, now that I'm able to get a better sense of the breadth and quality of their articles. As in the following example, where I now have a better indication of the public perception of the impact of the Mariel boatlift in 1980 on the crime rate in Miami (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) which has led me to wonder about the assertion made in the title sequence of Brian DePalma's Scarface that 25,000 of the 125,000 Mariel refugees had criminal records since that coincidentally appears to also be the estimated number of Haitian refugees.

Also, their cover search will disgorge a wealth of high-grade psychedelic imagery if asked. The cover art in the late 60s and early 70s was less photo-reliant with disturbing, bold illustrations. I really like it.

They're better geeks than I am. I would not have resisted the temptation to call their search service "Time Travel."
posted at September 13, 2006, 11:29 AM


  • At 1:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is it possible to have an online equivelent to the newspaper of record? With the explosion of wikis and blogs and such a huge surge in multi-source information gathering, can one website really have the whole story anymore?


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