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News organizations have all but abandoned their archives

BoingBoing: “Sharon Ringel and Angela Woodall have published a comprehensive, in-depth look at the state of news archiving in the digital age, working under the auspices of the Tow Center at the Columbia Journalism Review; it’s an excellent, well-researched report and paints an alarming picture of the erosion of the institutional memories of news organizations. Ringel and Woodall find that news organizations are cavalier, even negligent, about archiving their news, and contrast this with the heyday of newspapers where dedicated librarians staffed a “morgue” of carefully clipped and cross-referenced print articles. By contrast, today’s news organizations rely primarily on their CMSes, the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, reporters’ personal Google Docs accounts, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to store their articles, social media posts, and other materials.Although the Internet Archive has done yeoman service in this field, Ringel and Woodall are rightfully skeptical that a single institution should be entrusted with being the sole entity recording our collective history — not least because the Archive only saves pages it discovers in its crawls, and cannot traverse paywalls (let alone recording alternative headlines, associated social media posts, comments, personalized layouts shown to logged-in users, etc)…”

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