An upcoming event at the Reynolds Journalism Institute Dodging the Memory Hole: Saving Born-digital News Content (following on their Newspaper Archive Summit) looks like a great opportunity to bring together people who aren’t regularly in contact to think about preserving online news content. As the website explains:
One recent survey found that most American media enterprises fail to adequately process their born-digital news content for long-term survival. This potential disappearance of news, birth announcements, obituaries and feature stories represents an impending loss of cultural heritage and identity for communities and the nation at large: a kind of Orwellian “memory hole” of our own unintentional making.
The situation with news websites reminds me in many ways of the situation with university presses: each publisher is so preoccupied with trying to make ends meet that they can’t afford to invest in solutions that will help preserve their content. Preserving content is not only altruistic (ensuring that it’s available for historians) but also has the potential to lead to increased revenue—”monetizing your backlist” by keeping your products available for sale for longer and/or repackaging them in new ways.