A public record at risk: The dire state of news archiving in the digital age


Researchers at CJR recently explored archiving practices for newspapers, online sites, magazines and wire services and the difficulties of archiving in a digital age.

CJR found that none of the news outlets were keeping a record of what they produced online, and most of them were not archiving their online content. Also, many outlets confused digital backup and keeping their information in a content management system as equivalent to archiving.

News organizations allow third-party organizations to store their content, however these organizations might not have the same goals as the news organizations. The news organizations that are at the most risk of not being preserved in the future are local, independent and online sources. Archiving digital news is becoming more of an important issue as more news becomes digital and print publications decrease.

A key finding was that most organizations had no policies for archiving their online material or their social media posts. Little is being done to preserve news because digital organizations believe that backing up content onto a cloud server is sufficient. However, a few initiatives are making efforts to archive digital news. How can news organizations start thinking about archiving and how will they begin the daunting feat?

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