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The Media

Does Computer Journalism Have a History? 13

Posted by Cliff
from the following-the-paper-and-bit-trail dept.
apanishev asks: "Hi to all /.'ters! I'm a beginner computer journalist in a Russian on- and offline magazine "PL-komp'yutery". One of the recent topics of my interest is: whether the computer journalism itself has a history? Sure it does, but my first investigations revealed nothing. I know there were some Amiga paper magazines and some BBS electronic bulletines before the Internet age, but what was the very first paper (and/or online) magazine about personal computers? About web design and professional computing? About PC games? I would be very grateful for any thoughts about the subject."
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Does Computer Journalism Have a History?

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  • I know Dr Dobbs Journal was founded as one of the first PC-oriented magazine, but I don't know whether it was actually the first or whatever...
  • US Magazines... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Howie (4244) <howieNO@SPAMthingy.com> on Monday November 12, 2001 @01:01PM (#2554219) Homepage Journal
    Doctor Dobb's Journal (Doctor Dobbs' Journal of Computer Callisthenics and
    Orthodontics
    at the time) and Byte were both around at least from the mid-70's. DDJ's website [ddj.com] says 1976 for them. This site [islandnet.com] says Sepember 1975 for Byte.
    • Looking further through that same site [islandnet.com], shows the People's Computer Company releasing their first magazine in October 1972. They were one of the first groups promoting personal computing, so that may well be the first 'personal computing' publication (The phrase 'personal computer' apparently first appears in print in the May 1976 issue of Byte (it says here [islandnet.com])).
  • Well, Byte magazine has been around forever. I know it dates back to the early 80s, and probably before that.
  • by JoshuaDFranklin (147726) <joshuadfranklin.NOSPAMNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday November 12, 2001 @01:02PM (#2554227) Homepage
    Everything has a history, of course. :) I've done a good amount of online history-seeking, and I've found that the usual places of searching (like Google [google.com] are the best--at least to find other subject-specialized sites.

    For some of these, there's always Yahoo!, which seems to have a good number of links in this directory [yahoo.com].

    Also the Online History of Computers [hitmill.com] seems alright.

    If you're willing to spend a few bucks, you might invest in some of the titles in the IEEE Bibliography [ieee.org]. LoL.

  • PC gaming was Electronic Games Magazine, with Arnie Katz, Joyce Worley and Bill Kunkel as the main editorial team. EG ran for a while in the very early 80's and died during the first major games industry pullback in the mid-80's.

    Ever hardworking, Arnie, Joyce and Bill then started doing, of all things, big time wrestling magazines for a while, and ended up replacing the editorial team at Frozen Foods Weekly. Not exactly a dream gig, but all the frozen food they could eat, I guess.

    After the games industry recovered at the end of the decade, Barry Friedman negotiated a deal for them with Decker-Sendai publications and EG came back to life for a few years. While never as big as CGW, the magazine did respectably well and was generally good in coverage.

    Near the end of the 90's, for various reasons including a number of projects being pursued by the partners, the magazine went away, being briefly renamed Fusion and then turning to dust.

    And while I don't know it for a fact, I seem to think that Byte would be the first computer magazine in print. At least, it is the first one I can ever remember reading, and by far the best of its generation.

  • Not a direct answer, but as I remember it, the first magazines to carry computer coverage were electronics "what's new" and hobby magazines, stuff like Popular Electronics. I actually still have most of them in a box somewhere.
    RCA COSMAC VIP [inebraska.com], be still my heart :)
  • This Classic Computers [inebraska.com] site is probably a good starting place.
  • Computerworld and Datamation are two commercial publications that have been around for a very long time. Their primary emphasis was on large IBM systems (360/370 series), which was the majority of the computer market for many years..
  • Creative Computing magazine, founded by David Ahl, was one of, if not the first magazine to cover personal computing. It started publishing in 1974 [icwhen.com] -- "It contained, among other things, computer games written in BASIC. The programs ran on time-shared systems with Teletype machines hooked up to an HP or DEC minicomputer - a typical configuration for the time. " (http://www.uwp.edu/academic/mathematics/usaco/hom e/don.htm)

    [aside: you kids haven't lived if you haven't typed the BASIC source for Hunt the Wumpus on a model 33 Teletype and saved it to paper tape!]

    Creative also covered hobbyist systems such as the MITS Altair, and when the various home systems started to hit the market, Creative was there to cover Apple, Atari, IBM PC, etc.

    Of course, the home systems soon had dedicated magazines -- for the Ataris, there were A.N.A.L.O.G ("Atari Newsletter And Lots Of Games") and Antic. (I've got a closet full of these if anybody wants to purchase some history).

    Incidentally, the first issue of Byte was not published until 1975 [fireinthevalley.com]. I can't seem to find a date for the founding of Dr. Dobbs Journal.
    --

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