Newspaper Archive Summit white paper suggests next steps for stakeholders

A mandate to preserve — a white paper (PDF) — was produced for the Newspaper Archive Summit Network by Victoria McCargar, veteran journalist, archivist and digital curation consultant.

This white paper provides an assessment of the first Newspaper Archive Summit and offers suggestions for next steps.

On April 10-12, 2011, the Reynolds Journalism Institute, MU Libraries and Mizzou Advantage from the University of Missouri, and the Library of Congress, brought together professionals from archives, historical societies, libraries, news publishing and news content vendor industries, to discuss the benign neglect and the growing need to rescue threatened news collections.

Here are a few highlights:

  • Stakeholders from diverse professions have confusing and often conflicting ideas about “digitization” and “preservation.” This points to a need for basic education with the goal of developing unified interest around key topics and priorities.
  • There is a need to identify and prioritize risks of threatened news collections, both publicly and privately owned.
  • Given the pace of downsizing and number of papers walking away from print publication, time is of the essence. The longer digital collections sit in storage, the greater the risk they’ll be lost altogether.
  • A large body of research worldwide has gone into digitizing newspapers printed before 1923. It’s time to start applying it to the current situation.
  • Necessary key components of basic education include economics of ownership, copyright and the cost of preserving (or not preserving).
  • Recruitment for Summit II is of prime importance to ensure that the right voices are heard – and are listening.
  • The journalists at Missouri and other schools will need to pay an even larger role and reach out to their peers at newspapers. The discussion must be elevated above “it’s a library problem.” It’s also a publishing problem, a journalism problem.

These topics will spark new conversations at Summit II. Dates and location to be announced.


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