NPR in 1994: We’re Trying Out This Internet Thingy

On Monday NPR released a 20-year-old memo about the internet.
On Monday NPR released a 20-year-old memo about the internet.Screenshot by Jim Romenesko.

Twenty years ago today, NPR was so excited about getting online, it sent out a memo outlining what, exactly, this whole Internet thing was anyway.

The note was published on the NPRchives Tumblr Monday morning. Dated April 28, 1994, the memo reads like a Dead Sea Scroll for the primitive Internet, name-checking Gopher, Mosaic, Telnet and, of course, email, described as “very similar to our own VAXmail, except the addressing scheme is more complex.”

This early Internet also had rules, the memo warned.

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“A code of ‘netiquette’ exists among users and within user, groups, but otherwise, you pay your money, find your niche and take your chances,” wrote Dennis Fuze in the memo.

Not willing to risk its entire computer system to this new wild west of communication, NPR set up just one computer with email-only access.

(h/t Jim Romenesko)