Artifact Details


News Navigator video ethnography

Catalog Number



Moving image


Apple's QuickTime was the first software-based compressed digital video format to become widely available on desktop PCs. Announced in 1990 and shipping in 1991, QuickTime allowed for small postage stamp-size videos to play in a window. The first public demonstration of QuickTime technology may have been in the fall of 1990, at an educational computing conference called Educom, held that year in Atlanta, Georgia. This took the form of a daily news magazine called News Navigator that ran on kiosks at the conference and contained news stories with embedded video content from CNN. News Navigator, the brainchild of then Apple marketing manager Greg Gretsch, was implemented as a set of HyperCard stacks by Clate Sanders, a HyperCard expert at Georgia Tech. (HyperCard was a Macintosh application written by Bill Atkinson that allowed users to create "stacks" of "cards" that could be linked together with hyperlinks, a non-networked but programmable precursor to today's World Wide Web. HyperCard became the platform of choice for deploying multimedia.)

While other early demos of QuickTime showed video playing in a window, News Navigator embedded video in a hypermedia environment mixing text, still graphics, and audio clips, a full multimedia experience. This paved the way for the growth of the multimedia industry once CD-ROMs became widely available. Moreover, it presaged the kind of mixed media content we see on the web today.

In December 2017/January 2018, the Center for Software History worked with Clate Sanders to restore his original HyperCard stacks (which were still stored on old magneto-optical disk cartridges), and run them on a vintage Macintosh IIci. This video is a video ethnography of the News Navigator, with interviews of Greg Gretsch and Clate Sanders and demonstration by Clate Sanders.




Gretsch, Greg, Interviewee
Hsu, Hansen, Interviewer
Plutte, Max, Camera person
Sanders, Clate, Interviewee


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, CA






Oral history


Computer History Museum

Lot Number