Public Record Under Threat: News and the Archive in the Age of Digital Distribution

Hill, Nate; Ringel, Sharon; Woodall, Angela Mary

The evolution of the internet has created a vast storehouse of information, both current and historical, and all at the fingertips of the general public as well as journalists. But as we find ourselves apparently saturated by information and overwhelmed by its sources, we face a potential crisis of preservation as we seek—and often fail—to archive all manner of digital content.

News organizations have been slow to recognize and respond to the preservation challenges presented by digital technology. As a result, newsroom discussions about preservation and archiving are few and far between. However, professionals such as librarians, archivists and technologists outside of news industry are having these conversations, about retaining both conventional news content and online news, as well as about the problems inherent in trying to preserve the multitude of digital and data projects.

This shift from paper (or film) to digital record prompted the title of the conference that is the focus of this report: “Public Record Under Threat: News and the Archive in the Age of Digital Distribution.” The conference, the fourth and last in this phase of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism’s Platforms & Publishers series, arose from a recognition of the problems this shift has created in the archive..

While archivists and librarians generally agree that preservation of news content is an acute concern that must be addressed quickly, platforms and publishers often express doubt about whether they have anything to contribute to the discussion. Getting this crowd together in the same room—archivists, journalists and technologists—is a first step toward defining the problem, and subsequently mapping out solutions.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Tow Center for Digital Journalism
Brown Institute for Media Innovation
Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Columbia University
Tow Center for Digital Journalism Publications
Published Here
July 9, 2018