The Guardian Says the First Live-Blog Happened Before the Internet Existed

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The Guardian, normally an upstanding paper of good repute, have claimed to find the first ever live-blog of an election, and they allege it happened before the Internet even existed. In 1923 the  Manchester Guardian posted hour-by-hour updates of the general election. The tone of the updates, the Guardian argues, are pretty much the same thing you would get from a live-blog today: a breezy, conversational mix of reporting and reacting as the news comes out. See for yourself: 

2.31am: Lembit Opik has lost Montgomeryshire ... A colleague says they are "very chapel" in Montgomeryshire. Presumably his antics with the Cheeky Girls didn't go down well.

5.15am: Labour have won Rochdale. Gordon Brown's comment about Gillian Duffy doesn't seem to have done too much damage there.

The problem is that certain New York Times staffers disagree. They allege their paper invented the form in 1910 when the Times posted constant updates of Glenn Curtiss' pioneering flight from Albany to New York City. It was the first time anything had flown in North America. 


These claims are ridiculous, if only because the Internet didn't exist yet, let alone the blog. If the Guardian or the Times kept their updates to under 140 characters they could claim to have invented Twitter, too.

The biggest challenger to the Guardian's report would be The Awl's Ken Layne, who probably has the best chance of actually calling himself the father of the live-blog. Layne claims to have accidentally invented election live-blogging in 2000, back when blogging software was still relatively new and the Internet actually existed. He posted live updates on election night to his personal website, and he was the only one doing it at the time. Twelve years later and it's basically the only way news outlets cover election night. We're giving this one to Layne. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.