The early internet, known as ARPANET, was controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense and used mostly by academics. It became available to a wider public with the release of the Netscape browser in 1994.

At first, news websites were mostly archives of print publications.

An early online newspaper was the Electronic Telegraph, published by The Daily Telegraph.

A 1994 earthquake in California was one of the first big stories to be reported online in real time.

In 1995, the release of web browser Netscape made news sites accessible to more people.

On the day of the Oklahoma City bombing in April 1995, people flocked to newsgroups and chatrooms to discuss the situation and share information. The Oklahoma City Daily posted news to its site within hours. Two of the only news sites capable of hosting images, the San Jose Mercury News and Time magazine, posted photographs of the scene.

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