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At the time, he and his colleague were the principals of P.R. PR, and Charles was representing Bayou Steel in a labor situation. Bayou Steel had just filed some kind of legal proceeding. Charles’s admin told him a reporter was looking for a copy of the filing to be delivered to him by courier. Charles had a copy with him and wouldn’t be able to send it until he’d arrived at his destination.

He did inform the reporter, however, that the court was making a PDF version of the document available on the Internet for download.

Later, the reporter called back to let Charles know how blown away he was that a legal document could be posted online for such simple retrieval.

Recalling that moment today, Charles says, “It doesn’t sound so special now, but back then, it was a wow moment for all parties involved.

“We were just uncovering the availability of content online in real time,” he continues. “Faxes and couriers still ruled the day. Delays were the norm. News at the speed of the net was in its pioneer days.”

Soon after, companies began establishing special sections of their website just for the reporters who covered the company. Called newsrooms, pressrooms, media centers and a few other names, they proliferated quickly.

And then they stagnated.

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