Newspapers and other media entities started experimenting with videotex technology in the 1970s...In 1979, the Knight Ridder newspaper chain established a videotex subsidiary to develop its Viewtron service, Boczkowski writes. Clunky and toylike by today's standards (see the silly, pre-Donkey Kong-quality graphics), the early system required an expensive, dedicated terminal. Yet after conducting trials in 1980, the system held sufficient promise that Knight Ridder succeeded in selling Viewtron franchises to other newspapers. More than a dozen other dailies played with videotex during the decade, including newspapers in the Times-Mirror chain, Cowles Media, and McClatchy Newspapers, as well as at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Washington Post.
Howard Finberg of the Poynter Institute remembers that Viewtron could fetch from the "Miami Herald or the New York Times the night before the paper hit your doorstep," access the Associated Press, look up airline schedules, access bank account info, and order a meal online. Not bad for the dark ages, eh?
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