Did you know that the record of our national history that has been memorialized in print for the last century is being lost? According to an excellent article at Wallet Pop (my first visit there), the fate of our collective archives is in peril with the folding of each city and community newspaper, or magazine. The article, Archives in peril: Generations of history, gone with the flip of a switch by Jason Cochran, cites numerous and specific examples of how entire archives are being lost, even destroyed, in these times of perishing print.
Those of you who are elders like me will remember when you had to resource the card catalog in the library, or read the newspapers found on the dowel racks, to do research for school assignments. Now, with easy electronic access, these are gone. However, with the ongoing economic hard times, the libraries have not had the resources to electronically archive the information that reported all the goings-on in our hometowns, cities, and states. Libraries are so under-funded that many have cut back on their hours of operation.
When a publication declares bankruptcy, the publisher often loses access to everything that has been published, and, startlingly, all its archives are destroyed! In our disposable society with free information floating around the intertubes, you may be tempted to say, as many have, that it serves the newspapers right: they should have seen the revolution coming and planned for it. Hindsight, people!
We’re in a new world that requires diamond-cut thinking, yet without our past, we are shallow, roaming droids—ancestor-less—believing we sprang to life immaculately and created the world in our own image.
So, what is the new model? I’m sorry to say, I don’t have the answer but am still asking the question. Until now, we could say, although corporate conglomerates were over-taking journalism, that newspapers and magazines still had local, regional, and national reporters to cover and break the important, and not so important, news. But, besides monopolies, the new model of “journalism” is largely a citizen force of un- or minimally-paid opinionaires.
How will we preserve the roots, identity, and freedom of the press that created and disseminated the day-to-day happenings of our culture and society. Who will be paid to attend and record the events of our country’s lifeblood? How will we keep our history from being lost as each paper folds?
Who will save the news? Ideas anyone?
[h/t to Media Bistro for linking to the original article.]