Journalism as Time Travel – A 90s California Newspaper

TRUCKEE, CA – When opened, the boxes were like unearthing a time capsule.

While unpacking Hummel antiques with my family, I noticed some crumpled newsprint. The black and white papers surrounded the wrapped sculptures and plates for padding and packing purposes, but I instantly recognized them as an opportunity to go back in time.

Newspapers seem to be made for time travel, containing a purely frozen and current reality from the time that they were published. Inside that box was a nearly complete copy of the Ventura County Star from February 18th and 19th, 1996.  

Thanks to the 26-year-old pages, we can take a look into the 90s.

The publication contained a lot of content on the 1996 presidential election that took place after Bill Clinton’s first term in office. The image above shows his republican challengers. 

Bill Clinton was the democratic candidate, Bob Dole the republican, and Ross Perot ran as part of the reform party that he founded the year before. In the end, Clinton was re-elected and became president until he left office in 2001.

Cartoon of politician Pat Buchanan who ran against Clinton.

One of many articles chronicling the election.


The article above was a reflection on how far women’s rights and representation had come. The author Naomi Finkel focused on the change in the portrayal of females in advertisements. 

She explained how women’s looks are being used less to sell products. “She’s the one driving the sports car…” Finkel stated, expressing how women were being advertised doing things, using the product instead of their features to sell it to you.


In the 90s, modern technology was on the rise. Many phones and early computers were being developed and distributed.

The effects of greenhouse gasses on human health created a push for more environmentally friendly (or “green”) cars

These classic trousers are still a booming product… but cost more than double today

“Now that’s a kiss!” read this article’s headline. In this kissing contest in Lituania, the winners were declared after 62 hours. However, the contestants were given 10 minute breaks every hour, cutting their total time down to around 51 hours.

The famous football player O.J. Simpson, sold his ‘85 red Ferrari at an auction in Palm Springs

26 years later, Frank Silvas is still turning 26. This ad will haunt him forever, thanks to Rachel.

You could go to any of these movies for $4 or less at the Ventura, Oxnard, or Pacific theaters

Among others, these were some of  productions of ‘96 that were being shown.

An interesting anecdote on the communities formed in the cul-de-sacs of Southern California

The sports section in the Star featured a number of ski resorts in the state and their most current snow conditions. It included many Tahoe resorts like Alpine Meadows, Sugar Bowl, and Kirkwood.

This article compared murder rates between men and women. The author states, “women’s potential to be lethal adversaries tends to be underestimated.”

Learn how to make a bulletin board from the one and only Martha Stewart.

Inflation has affected everything, such as the price of used cars and flights. Featured in the ads above are used models from 4 car companies and roundtrip flights to Boomtown.

The weather on February 19th, 1996 was a bit stormy. The front pages of some of the sections were printed in color, showing the rise in color printing in the late 1900s.

Above is a photo of the science/environment section and the top article regarding residents of the small town Little A’le’Inn near Area 51 and their thoughts on the abnormal activity


The Ventura County star is still operating today out of Camarillo, CA. According to the Star’s website, the publication was founded in 1925, combining other papers like the Ventura Free Press and E.W. Scripps Company. 

The Star is owned by Gannett, the largest newspaper publishing company in the U.S. and is part of the USA Today network. Their website updates everyday and they still deliver physical papers on certain days of the week. The Star is also available on the app and as an e-newspaper. 

News and how it is consumed has changed drastically over time, even since the 1990s. The newspaper that was found provides us with a unique view on the world from 26 years ago.