The Day The New York Times Went Dark

What the Times website looked like when it was down.

What the Times website looked like when it was down.

As you may have noticed, the Times website went down late this morning. It’s back up now, but the reasons for the malfunction remain unclear. Fox Business continues to claim, citing an anonymous source, that the Times was the victim of a “cyber attack,” although the paper of record disputes this. The Times’s homepage informs readers that the “outage occurred within seconds of a scheduled maintenance update, which we believe was the cause.”

Whatever the reason, it was certainly a stressful few hours, and, judging by the reaction on the Internet, you’d be hard pressed to say what was the bigger news event of the day: the temporary blackout or the fact that Egypt has returned to a “state of virtual martial law,” as the Times reported this afternoon when its site reappeared.

The Times, quick to act during the outage, took to Facebook to post its articles—sans paywall!—including one by David D. Kirkpatrick and Alan Cowell with the grim headline “Vice President Quits as Raids on Morsi Backers Kill Scores in Egypt.”

Which confirmed that this wasn’t some abstract remembrance of the Northeast blackout of 2003—the historic power outage that occurred 10 years ago to the day—as some humorously suggested it was on Twitter.

In the absence of the Times, there was Twitter, and, unlike 10 years ago when the city went dark, the social media platform provided a pleasant distraction from the fact that there were no Times stories to provide a distraction. (The Daily Beast made a post titled “Tweets from the Great Blackout of 2013,” as this day will now be known).

One tweet missing from The Beast’s post, however, came from the NYT Opinion Twitter feed. It’s always nice when a paper can turn a technological misfortune into comedy.

Unless the tweet was serious, in which case, the end may be nigh.