Henry Scott (pictured), founder and publisher of West Hollywood hyper-local website WEHOville.com, has a digital media credential that is hard to beat. He oversaw the launch of the very first online iteration of the New York Times.

“I was a pretty avid user of America Online and I had hit on the idea of how cool it would be to have a site online for the New York Times,” Scott tells FishbowlLA via telephone of his pioneering 1994 effort. “The only way I could think of doing it was through AOL, because no one was creating independent, free-standing websites.”

“I went to my boss at the New York Times and he told me we didn’t have any money,” he continues. “So I then went to Allan Siegal, assistant managing editor, who told me, ‘Do whatever you want… We have a newspaper to put out, just don’t get in our way.’”

The notion of the New York Times budgeting zero dollars for online and leading someone like Scott to knock empty-handed on AOL’s door reminds just how far the Internet has come. Steve Case‘s lieutenants were of course very interested in adding NYT content to AOL and ponied up $500,000.

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