Archives — personal, institutional
I’m always stashing links in my del.icio.us bookmarks and tagging them for future reference, e.g., examples+video. When I go back to get those examples — to show in a workshop, say — the link might very well go nowhere. A “404 Not Found,” as geeks everywhere are fond of saying.
Sure, I can show another example instead. But recently the missing link concerned a Soundslides one of our photojournalism students (since graduated) produced during her internship at the local newspaper, so I e-mailed her to see if she had a backup. Lucky for me, she did, and now she’s re-posted the package (The Nutcracker) on another server. Lucky for my students too.
I’m very fond of this example because the photojournalist, Morgan Petroski, has also posted an image of the newspaper version of her photo story. It gives me a chance to compare a traditional print photo story with an audio slideshow and talk about how the photojournalist has to think differently for online.
Now Morgan’s served up some food for thought in a blog post in which she wonders why the newspaper allowed the “404 Not Found” to occur, given that it is striving to “keep up with producing multimedia, especially video,” these days. (She also cautions all journalists to keep a safe copy of their own online projects — you can’t rely on the news organization to keep it for you.)
It’s clear to me that a lot of newsrooms have no plan when it comes to archiving, organizing, and promoting their multimedia projects.
All the effort, all the disruption, all the resources that go into producing these videos and slideshows and packages … only to end with “404 Not Found” a few weeks or months later?
It’s the newspaper mentality, I think. Fishwrap. Bird-cage liner. Always a new day, a new newspaper. Archives? That’s called the morgue. It’s a place for dead things. In this business, we care only about the living.
Obviously, this is another old notion that desperately needs to be brought up to date.