The First Time News Was Fit To Print


It's time for another edition of The First Time News Was Fit To Print, the semi-regular feature where we travel into the archives of The New York Times to find the first time the paper covered various subjects. If you have a suggestion for a future installment, leave a comment.

Hubble Telescope

January 3, 1989

Delayed NASA Missions Prepare for TakeoffIn December the long-awaited Hubble Space Telescope is scheduled to be lofted into Earth orbit from a shuttle, giving astronomers not only a clearer view of the entire solar system but of stars and galaxies virtually all the way out to the edge of the observable universe. Scientists, barely containing their excitement, believe that the huge optical telescope should bring about a transformation in observational astronomy comparable to the one after the astronomer Galileo looked at the heavens with a telescope nearly four centuries ago.

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LeBron James

July 9, 2001

Hitting the Lottery as a Junior?A stellar array of basketball cognoscenti that included scouts from almost every N.B.A. team and college coaches...flocked yesterday to see some 220 of the best high school players in the world showcased at Fairleigh Dickinson's Rothman Athletic Center. One player in particular, however, caught much of their attention. He is a 16-year-old from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, who will be a junior in the fall. Many of the gathered connoisseurs believed that the lad, LeBron James, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound point guard, shooting guard and small forward -- sometimes he plays as if he is all three in one, a kind of hoops Swiss Army knife -- would have been taken in the first round of the most recent N.B.A. draft, possibly a lottery pick. * * * Tom Konchalski, who evaluates high school players for his respected H.S.B.I. Report, said: "LeBron isn't an extraterrestrial athlete, but he has a tremendous feel for the game. He sees situations two passes ahead of the play. He's been compared to Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady. But I think he has a better feel for the game than they do." He meant than they did when they were James's age, right? "No, I mean right now," Konchalski said. "I doubt seriously if he's going to college."


May 23, 1979

Cable-TV News Network Set Up The Cable News Network, to begin operations a year from now, is to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Turner Communications Inc., an Atlanta-based company whose chairman is R.E. (Ted) Turner. The network's principal program, according to Mr. Turner, will be a two-hour newscast that would serve as alternative programming to the prime-time entertainment offerings of the commercial television networks. * * * The cable news network has signed as regular contributors Roland Evans and Robert Novak, political columnists; Jean Dixon, astrologer; Dr. Joyce Brothers, psychologist and television personality, and Dr. Neil Solomon, medical reporter.


August 16, 1972

Linda's Chief Heads Saratoga Field Today A meeting between undefeated Linda's Chief and the formidable Secretariat will be the big attraction tomorrow, with the 59th running of the Sanford Stakes. There are five others in this six-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds but the big expectation is a duel between this pair. * * * * * Secretariat has yet to compete in stakes, and has a record of two victories in his three attempts. His only setback came in his debut, when he was impeded at the start.

January 22, 1996

The New York Times Introduces a Web Site The New York Times begins publishing daily on the World Wide Web today, offering readers around the world immediate access to most of the daily newspaper's contents. The New York Times on the Web, as the electronic publication is known, contains most of the news and feature articles from the current day's printed newspaper, classified advertising, reporting that does not appear in the newspaper, and interactive features including the newspaper's crossword puzzle. The electronic newspaper (address: http:/ is part of a strategy to extend the readership of The Times and to create opportunities for the company in the electronic media industry. * * * With its entry on the Web, The Times is hoping to become a primary information provider in the computer age and to cut costs for newsprint, delivery and labor. Companies that have established Web-based information sites include television networks, computer companies, on-line information services, magazines and even individuals creating electronic newspapers of their own. * * * "The market is booming for newspapers on the World Wide Web," consultant John Kelsey said.

From Previous Installments...


July 7, 1980

Stereo-to-Go "“ and Only You Can Hear It Josh Lansing and the young blonde woman had never even met before, but as they passed each other on Madison Avenue the other afternoon, she waved and smiled and he tipped his headphones in salute....What the two well-dressed strangers first noticed about each other was that they were both possessors of the newest status symbol around town: the Walkman, a portable stereo unit (priced in most stores at $200), consisting of an ultra-light headphone set plugged into a cassette player that weighs in at less than 14 ounces, batteries included. "It's just like Mercedes-Benz owners honking when they pass each other on the road," explained Mr. Lansing, whose cassette hung from his Gucci belt.

Digital Camera

May 29, 1991

Kodak Introduces Electronic CameraThe Eastman Kodak Company took its first real step into digital photography by introducing an electronic camera system that can turn a conventional Nikon into a high-tech electronic camera. Kodak's professional digital camera system will sell for about $20,000 and is intended primarily for photojournalists and government surveillance, the company said. The system also marks Kodak's first move into pure electronic photography, where images are captured and created without film.

Books on Tape

February 20, 1977

Catching Up With the Classics Want to catch up on your reading while driving cross-country? Or dip into the classics while sunning with eyes closed on a secluded Caribbean beach? A California outfit called Books on Tape makes it happen. Described as the "thinking man's answer to CB radio," Books on Tape was conceived in Los Angeles a few years back to aid long-haul commuters avoid "cerebral atrophy" occasioned by long traffic tie-ups on freeways. * * * * * Clients are able to rent the cassettes at fees ranging from $6.50 to $7.50 for a complete work, based on a one-month rental period, plus $1.75 for postage and handling. If one had to buy the tapes, the purchase price would be somewhere around $50.

Lee Harvey Oswald

November 3, 1959

American Awaits Soviet Word Lee Harvey Oswald shut himself in his hotel room today to await a decision on his request for Soviet citizenship. Mr. Oswald, a former Marine from Fort Worth, Texas, turned in his American passport to the United States Embassy here [in Moscow] last week-end. "I am awaiting a reply from the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet on my application for citizenship and have nothing to say meanwhile," he said over the telephone.

Zip Codes

November 29, 1962

New Mail Codes Will Aid SortersThe Post Office Department will add a five-digit number to everyone's address after July 1. The new number will be called the zip code. Postmaster General J. Edward Day, who announced the plan today, said the digit code would help postal clerks pinpoint the destination of mail as it was sorted. He said this could speed delivery by as much as 24 hours. To help publicize the plan, the department has created a cartoon character named Mr. Zip. "Zip" stands for Zone Improvement Plan. * * * * * Mr. Day he did not expect the new system to bring about any reduction in the postal payroll or in postal rates. The volume of mail increases every year and, in any case, most postal employees are letter carriers. "I don't think we'll ever get to the point where a clanking robot brings mail to your door."

David Bowie

July 11, 1971

Bowie, Bolan, Heron "“ Superstars?Mind and music are a powerful team, too. David Bowie is the most intellectually brilliant man yet to choose the long-playing album as his medium of expression. His best album is Man of Words/Man of Music* (Mercury). It is over a year old and not easy to find in record stores, but it is well worth special-ordering or sending to England for or borrowing from a friend. It is worth any three records now on the charts. *This album was re-released in the United States as Space Oddity in 1972.

See Also... "¢ Greatest Hits of 2007 (Walkman, Email, Jerry Seinfeld and more) "¢ Greatest Hits of 2008 (Princess Diana, Personal Computer, John McCain and more) "¢ See all the previous installments of The First Time News Was Fit To Print "¢ November 3, 2007: Appearance on NPR Weekend Edition Saturday

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