Leading the charge to save Newspaper Archives
By: Matthew Davis
The other day NNA released an article by Teri Saylor detailing the current state (or dwindling state to be more accurate) of newspaper archives. Within the article we’re mentioned for our efforts to help alleviate this problem and our beliefs that standardization is vital for the process to move forward. We wanted to go further in the discussion and bring up important points about what other groups have done and how Newz Group has worked with them.
While the current situation is not pretty when it comes to Digital Archives, there are glimmers of hope throughout the country. We are familiar with the struggle and we have succeeded in many ways. As I write this, we have over 12.5 million pages archived, but it is growing rapidly each week. With today’s rate, we will see an extra 2.5 to 3 million pages each year. To put more perspective to this number, the Library of Congress announced in October 2015 they had just passed 10 million pages of historic newspapers on Chronicling America, the National Endowment for the Humanities’ website for the National Digital Newspaper Program. This is a testament to the amazing growth we have seen and shows we are filling the gap every day. The old saying, “necessity is the mother of invention” is too true for us. Our need required us to provide a database for our customers and the database happens to be newspaper archives.
When it comes to archiving efforts in the United States, we have seen wonderful examples coming from Texas. Texas has taken this issue head on. The Texas Press Association and the efforts of their Executive Director, Mike Hodges, shows how a Press Association can protect their history for their members.
In support of the Texas Press Association’s preservation effort, University of North Texas Libraries has partnered with Newz Group and the Texas Press Association to digitally preserve the born-digital archive of the association’s newspapers. This effort is a part of UNT’s larger goal to build and preserve a truly comprehensive Texas newspaper collection, freely available for all users through the Texas Digital Newspaper Program. We commend them and join in celebrating 125 years of academic excellence in the state of Texas and beyond, even as they are preparing to celebration 4 million pages of Texas newspapers preserved, moving from 1829 to the present.
These efforts do not need to be herculean if you find the right way to do it. We believe we have found it and we accomplish it every day while we work to further improve the process.
How does Newz Group do this? (A question we get often)
It comes down to our company’s belief in a conscious business model. Our conscious business model combines the ideas of sustaining profit, improving society and ensuring sustainability. The sustainability includes many facets such as the environment, business models and industry impact. By combining all of these areas, we are continually refining a process that protects and ensures the survival of our American history.
Most importantly, we have built trust with the press associations and publishers we work with. Newspapers are the most trusted media in local communities. Newz Group extends that confidence with an industry recognized expectation of respect for creators of original content, distributing content under license.
What can you do? As a citizen, as a publisher.
As a citizen, sometimes the first goal is being aware that a problem exists. Second, it is important to voice your concern to your local newspaper. Let them know you care about archiving your town’s history and check to see if they are struggling with it. We have seen entire communities rally behind newspapers to provide the money for archiving editions for future generations.
As a publisher, the problem has always been an issue of time and money. You have deadlines that are imperative to the community and you need to drop everything in a moment’s notice to report a story to your readers and community. These are struggles for many newspapers-even the larger newspapers as well. Our solution focuses on newspapers for all sizes. Newz Group has the pleasure of working with over 1,800 different newspapers in our digital archive initiative (so far) and we are excited to continue this journey. If you would like to sign up, please fill out the form here to get started.
We often think of Mr. Ryszard Kapuscinski’s quote about journalists and their work:
“Our job is like a baker’s work – his rolls are tasty as long as they’re fresh; after two days they’re stale; after a week, they’re covered with mold and fit only to be thrown out.”
We believe we have found the process and we can make the work of journalists last longer and be worth more than simply being “thrown out.”