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Two Centuries of 'New York Times' Covers Show How Images Infiltrated the News

A data artist made a timelapse video showing every cover of the New York Times from 1852 to now.

Nathaniel Ainley

Nathaniel Ainley

News stories today are far from text-only. While news organizations are quickly adapting to the constantly changing communication landscape, one that is now tailored to be shareable, fast-paced, and driven by visual media, it wasn't always this way. In a new short timelapse video, data artist and app developer Josh Begley shows how the image has gradually infiltrated the front cover of The New York Times. Set on a nine-by-five thumbnail grid, Begley's 55-second video screens through every cover of the Old Grey Lady from its first publication in 1852 until now. The video's fast-paced format creates a striking tangible representation of this pervasive shift in news production as well as modern day consumer culture.


On his 'Brain Rules' website, developmental molecular biologist John Medina writes, "We are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%." In another article for the Huffington Post discussing the future of news, Communications Week writes, "63% of humans are kinesthetic learners. That means only the remaining 37 percent prefer reading text vs. engaging with assets to learn. And yet most corporate news stories are still text-only. Communicators must adapt if they want to be successful." The Times they are a changin'. See for yourself in the video below:

Check out more work by Josh Begley on his website.

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