How Jpost.com was born

When the site was launched in 1995, it was at the forefront of the Internet revolution.

By
August 24, 2016 02:26
2 minute read.
Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

 
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Tuesday’s 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web going public provides a startling reminder of how far we’ve come since the revolution that has changed media forever.

At the forefront of the digital revolution then was The Jerusalem Post, a position it has continued to hold ever since. But the beginning was rather dicey.

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Sometime in 1995, I had just been given my first email address by the Post’s systems manager. He explained that with it, I could send messages on my computer to colleagues and anyone else with an email address. Great, I thought, jazzed over the thought of being able to maintain ongoing contact with my family back in the US after having to rely on aerograms and expensive overseas phone calls for a decade.

The only problem was nobody else had email! It was at least another few months before a trickle of American friends, family and acquaintances joined the burgeoning enterprise that would soon take the world by a storm. So our email was used primarily for internal communications and with a slowly growing number of organizations, PR firms and offices that had latched on to the concept.

The launch later that year of the Post’s website – www.jpost.com, today an everyday element in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the world – had equally auspicious origins.

Thanks to the visionary efforts of the paper’s new media advocates, Nina Keren-David and Derek Fattal (back before “new media” was even a term), the Post was one of the first newspapers in the world to go live on the Web... sort of.

The first Post site featured eight news reports culled from that evening’s stories going into the paper. The site’s first editor, Ilan Chaim, followed a laborious process to enter codes, and then upload the stories. The back-end system used a little running puppy to represent the upload in process; many hours were spent cursing that pup and its seemingly interminable journey. But eventually, well into the wee hours of the morning, all eight stories appeared on the site, and they stayed there, static, for another 24 hours until the whole process was repeated.

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As the site – and technology – evolved, real-time updates were introduced and the running puppy was retired.

This year, celebrating its 21st anniversary, the Post’s website maintains its position at the forefront of the brave new world unleashed by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee 25 years ago.

If I had his email address, I would send congratulations.

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