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CNET's early years put the tech boom, and life, in perspective

por Leta Michalik (02/07/2020)

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Ina Fried interviewing Bill Gates in 2010.

This story is part of CNET at 25, celebrating a quarter century of industry tech and our role in telling you its story.

Editor's note: As part of CNET's 25th birthday, we're publishing a series of guest columns from former CNET leaders, editors and reporters. You'll find Ina's bio below.When I arrived at in May 2000, the was the latest in , and both Mac OS X and Windows XP were in beta testing. 
Brett Pearce/CNET
At 5 years old, CNET was both the leader in online tech news and yet still not well known to the broader world. We were an incredibly fast-paced, online newsroom at a time when most other newsrooms thought of the internet as a minor adjunct to their print magazines and newspapers. Tech companies and enthusiasts knew us as the place readers turned , whether it was the scoop on the next But when we ventured outside our tech home turf, people often hadn't heard of CNET. Some thought we were calling from CNN, a notion we didn't always immediately dispossess them of.As a young reporter, I found CNET a great place to be. I learned so much just by listening over the cubicle walls in our modest newsroom on Battery Street in San Francisco. I was surrounded by talented reporters, chasing scoops and breaking down jargon and industry spin into stories that helped educate and inform.

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Celebrating 25 years of CNET


I joined at the peak of the dot-com boom, when stocks would soar on mere mention of a new Web site or e-commerce initiative. And my colleagues and I covered the ensuing bust as the came crashing back to Earth.ina-fried-headshotFormer CNET reporter Ina Fried
Ina Fried
I remember being in our newsroom on 9/11, trying to make sense of the day's events for myself, and for readers. And I was there barely a month later as and as the industry tried to keep plugging along despite the economic and political turmoil. I remember that my first flight after 9/11 had shut down US airspace for two days was with a CNET colleague, Dawn Kawamoto, to In the ensuing years, CNET took me all kinds of places, and I traveled the world. I reported from Closer to home, I return to prominence, to

Some of my favorite CNET stories

And CNET was always at the forefront of new ways to reach audiences. During my time, we had a broadcast radio station. One night Brian Cooley and I even broadcast a friendly hockey game between Apple and Sun Microsystems. We also experimented with videos and podcasts and blogs long before those were mainstream practices.Beyond those professional highlights, CNET was as much a family as a workplace can be. CNET was a great place to share one's joy and accomplishments, but also a caring environment when life was at its most challenging.