The 11

     The 11 newspapers involved in the Compuserve experiment are: The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, The Los Angeles Times, The Middlesex (Framingham, Mass.) News, The Minneapolis Star and Tribune, The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Virginian Pilot and Ledger Star (Norfolk), and The Washington Post.
     Each of the 11 newspapers transmits its daily, computer-stored, electronic version via telephone modem to Compuserve's host computers in Columbus, Ohio. At the time, Compuserve is the largest consumer online service in the United States with more than 20,000 subscribers. Its fastest modems are 300 Bps.
     The experiment begins with the Columbus Dispatch in July, 1980. It iss joined by the New York Times, The Virginian Pilot and Ledger Star, The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle between January and March 1981. From June to October 1981, the rest of the papers join in the following order: Los Angeles, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Atlanta, The San Francisco Examiner and The Middlesex News.
     After seven months, Minneapolis is the first to drop out. In June, 1981, AP President and General Manager Keith Fuller is quoted as saying: "Since the newspapers began providing their electronic editions to CompuServe, CompuServe has grown from 3,600 subscribers in mid-1980 to more than 10,000 in the first quarter of 1981." However, most give the credit for the growth to Radio Shack, which introduces the first low-cost devices (the Videotex Terminal and the TRS-80 Color Computer) during the same period.
     Newspapers account for 5 percent of total CompuServe system usage, according to an editor involved in the project, Jim Crowley of The Columbus Dispatch. Chat, then called "Citizens Band Communications," accounts for 20 percent, he adds.
     When the experiment ends in June 1982, other newspaper executives are quoted as saying the distribution method was just too expensive — for both the newspapers and the consumers. CompuServe was charging $5 per hour of access after 6 p.m. and delivering about 30 characters per second. At that rate, it would take 6.2 hours to download the equivalent of an average daily newspaper.

     SOURCE: "The Electronic Newspaper: Fact or Fetish," Elizabeth M. Ferrarini, "Videotex - key to the information revolution," Online Ltd, 1982, pp 45-57.

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