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Regional daily marks 20 years online as reporter recalls advent of internet in newsroom

Regional daily The Mail is marking 20 years since it launched its news website, with one reporter recalling the early days of the internet in the newsroom at the dawn of digital journalism.

The Mail, which covers Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, has celebrated the milestone with a special masthead and by taking a look at the stories which featured on the website when it launched on 28 October 1999.

In a nostalgic feature article for the Newsquest title, formerly the North West Evening Mail, long-serving reporter Ellis Butcher said journalists were using typewriters in the newsroom up until 1992.

He said: “Unlike now, where every reporter has multiple online access via desktops, laptops and mobile phones, back then the editorial floor had just a single desktop computer with ‘the internet on it’.

“Such was its mystique, it was even housed in its own small private office with a desk and chair. If you wanted a ‘go’ on it, and very few did in those early days, you had to ask permission from IT.”

Until the mid-90s the newspaper had one email address, but Butcher, now the title’s Local Democracy Reporter, said this was “rarely used” with post and fax still the dominant means of sending files.

Butcher said prior to the advent of the mobile phone the newsroom had a portable phone but it was “the size of two house bricks and just as heavy”.

Picture: Pixabay

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