Hands-on with 125 Years of IHT Front Page News

Since 1887, the International Herald Tribune has covered the news on a daily basis, pumping out current events from its 38 global printing sites and feeding news to people in more than 160 countries. Founded as the European edition of the New York Herald and based in Paris, the IHT became the first newspaper distributed by airplane. It also became part of The New York Times Company family in 1967. Part of the International Herald Tribune’s 125th anniversary celebrations, the 125 Years of IHT Front Page News app for iTunes (free) takes a look at the newspaper’s extensive history. Now newsies as well as history buffs can take a vivid look at the past, viewing front pages and archives. We went hands-on with the app to see if it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

After downloading the app, we were taken to a Welcome screen which shared the app’s intentions: to offer a selection from 125 years of front pages recording history’s greatest moments as they happen. The app promises 185 front pages out of the 39,000 that have appeared since the paper’s founding, and the intro gives a detailed history of how the newspaper came to be and rose to greatness. We were then taken to a home screen, which breaks the coverage into chunks of time: 1887 to 1912, 1914 to 1919, 1920 to 1940, 1944 to 1959, 1960 to 1979, 1980 to 1999 and 2000 to 2012. You can start from the beginning in the newspaper’s history or jump around to different time periods.

We tapped on the first time period, 1887 to 1912, and were taken to a page with a key image of the time and the option to learn more about the time period. A different screen briefly outlined the important events of the era, then directed us to the included front pages of the paper during that time. Each section begins the same way, then goes into the newspaper front page replications.

Upon viewing the front pages, it was interesting to see what news was deemed important at the time. The evolution of the newspaper was also intriguing – as a news junkie and former print journalism major, it was cool to see the newspaper as a whole lean toward more image-heavy front pages over time. On each page, you can pinch-to-zoom and read the actual stories, or view the images in closer detail.

On each page, you have the option to return to the main page for each era, go to the next era’s main page, go to the home screen or access the index, which has a detailed chronological listing of key events that users can tap on to go directly to the front page covering that part of history.

It’s not the most complex of apps, with its simple features and lack of interactive elements, but it serves its purpose to educate. And, with the slow demise of the newspaper, users can digitally preserve a piece of history to document how news was presented in the past. For any news or history buff interested in taking a walk through time or seeing how newspapers have evolved, 125 Years of IHT Front Page News is worth a look.

Molly Klinefelter
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