News nerds may want to call in sick today. (If you compared home page treatments of the Casey Anthony verdict, I’m talking to you.) Ben Welsh, a developer for the Los Angeles Times, has built a site that saves images of the home pages of about 70 news sites every hour. You can look at the Drudge Report home page hour by hour (!), see all aggregators, or compare all the home pages at noon on May 1. Welsh explains why he did it:
I created this site because I think it ought to exist. The shifting homepages of major media sites should be saved so they can be studied. Done right, I believe PastPages could serve as a resource for scholars seeking to study coverage of news events, like the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
Welsh is using Kickstarter to seek donations for servers and bandwidth; so far he’s raised about $1,000 of his $5,000 goal. He has ideas beyond just saving images of the pages, such as archiving the HTML of the pages and perhaps offering bulk downloads so media scholars can analyze media coverage.
Disclosure: Poynter has offered to help support the site.