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Thanks to the Internet Archive the history of American newspapers is more searchable than ever

NiemanLab: “My two intellectual loves are history and journalism — alternately, history and its first draft — and I’m always happy to see the two overlap. That’s the case with word that the Internet Archive has digitized nearly the entire back catalog of Editor & Publisher — for decades the bible of the newspaper industry — and made it searchable to all. I may be one of the youngest journalists to have experienced E&P in its period of pre-Internet glory, when it was the best (and often only) place to find out about job openings at newspapers. I remember, as a cub reporter at The (Toledo) Blade in 1997, going in with a couple of coworkers for a shared subscription so we could see who was hiring. The Internet knocked E&P off its perch, offering free-or-cheap competition for both job listings and media gossip and giving it the fusty smell of yesterday’s media, though it’s shown some signs of life under new owner Mike Blinder. It’s Blinder we have to thank for handing E&P’s archives over to the Internet Archive for digitizing:

When Blinder called Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive and found out we had the microfilm for his back issues, he was very excited to find the microfilm was not only safe, but that the Internet Archive would digitize all of the issues at no cost to him. Blinder enthusiastically gave permission for the full 100-year history to be read and downloaded by anyone, anywhere — along with E&P’s International Yearbook and Market Guide. Going beyond the Internet Archive’s traditional lending system ensures it can be indexed by search engines and made maximally useful to readers and researchers. “I just went nuts,” Blinder recalls of learning about the project earlier this year. “I read history all the time. The fact that content about this incredible industry was available to humanity was exceptionally exciting.”

So if you’re at all interested in the 20th-century history of the American newspaper business, you now have access to a robust new resource. To give you a taste, I spent an afternoon combing through the archives to pull out some of the century’s most interesting moments; check them out below. (But before I release you to those clips, allow me a minute on my soapbox. Newspapers’ archives are an incredible storehouse of information about the history of our country. And too many of those archives are, as E&P’s were, left crumbling in some storage facility or hidden away on unindexed rolls of microfilm. If you work for a newspaper or magazine and your archives aren’t yet digitized and available online, do what Mike Blinder did and reach out to the Internet Archive, which can handle the process, often at no cost to you, and make sure the public will benefit from your newspaper’s work for years to come.)…”

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