Online archives solve the problem | 802 Online

Online archives solve the problem

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Great essay in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by David Shribman. He writes about the ephemeral nature of the newspaper biz, how what we write today is pretty much gone and mostly forgotten tomorrow.

There's a lot of good writing in newspapers today — in this one, in the national papers, in little papers across the country — and the inescapable fact is that we throw a lot of it in the recycling pile every day, along with the container of cat litter and the empty pickle jars...

I think about this a lot. It's one reason I'm a fan of free online archives. The fewer barriers that keep us from accessing good writing online, the more that writing will be read. That's why I was so excited when 7D finally launched a permanent archive this year, and why I think the Stowe Reporter and the St. Albans Messenger are wrong to keep much of their content offline. The Internet can keep your stories in circulation for years instead of days, effectively boosting society's collective intelligence.

I've heard the argument (from the publishers of the two VT papers listed above) that putting content on the Internet is expensive. To which I say, quit dragging your feet and find a way to pay for it.

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