Phillip Mendonça-Vieira captured the front page of the website of the New York Times every few hours from September 2010 to July 2011 and made a video of all those images. As far as historical documents go, it’s a hypnotic view into a particular period of time.
On what we might learn from this he says:
Having worked with and developed on a number of content management systems I can tell you that as a rule of thumb no one is storing their frontpage layout data. It’s all gone, and once newspapers shutter their physical distribution operations I get this feeling that we’re no longer going to have a comprehensive archive of how our news-sources of note looked on a daily basis. Archive.orgcomes close, but there are too many gaps to my liking.
This, in my humble opinion, is a tragedy because in many ways our frontpages are summaries of our perspectives and our preconceptions. They store what we thought was important, in a way that is easy and quick to parse and extremely valuable for any future generations wishing to study our time period.