I had been business editor of The Oregonian for three years when I first stumbled upon the word "Internet." It was 1991, and the word kept cropping up in Technology Review. Befuddled, I walked over to the Portland State University library, where I put the question to a research librarian: What is the Internet? He crooked a finger at me, took me into a back room, typed a few commands into a PC and pointed at the screen. I may have gasped. I had just glimpsed Usenet, the early system of news groups, in which scientists and academicians swapped information and arguments about everything from astrophysics to zooplankton. I have never forgotten the power of that revelation.
Less than a decade later, I covered the dot-com boom and bust, the rise of mobile technology and the birth of social media. I was one of the few U.S. reporters to be assigned to cover Y2K seriously full-time, and, as a result, I reported exclusively on widespread testing failures at a time other media incorrectly reported that Y2K had no impact.
I left The Oregonian in 2008, after a 30-year career in newspapers. I began a new chapter as a new-media entrepreneur. My company, Nozzl Real-Time Technologies Inc., creates specialized, real-time news and information streams for websites that need a steady supply of fresh content.