Here’s some evidence that the Internet did not sneak up on newspapers. This 1981 TV news report from KRON in San Francisco talks about the start of Videotext, but touches on how all news on computers “is a few years off.”
I was still a novice reporter in 1981, and only a couple years before, worked my way through college selling the Radio Shack computers pictured in the report. But, like most of us at that time, we were only beginning to realize the computer’s impact on the newsroom.
Videotext didn’t catch on … maybe because it took 2 hours to download, or the $5 per hour connection charge, or it wasn’t as ‘spiffy’ as the print edition. But you have to wonder why more newspapers didn’t foresee the Internet’s potential and worked to develop viable products as the Internet grew … and print readers withered away.