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In today’s digital newsrooms, a software/hardware crash can wipe out decades of text, photos, videos and applications in a fraction of a second. Digital archives can easily become obsolete due to evolving formats and digital systems used by modern media, not to mention media failure, bit-rot and link-rot.

One recent survey found that most American media enterprises fail to adequately process their born-digital news content for long-term survival. This potential disappearance of news, birth announcements, obituaries and feature stories represents an impending loss of cultural heritage and identity for communities and the nation at large: a kind of Orwellian “memory hole” of our own unintentional making.

Dodging the Memory Hole: Saving Born-digital News Content was held Nov. 10–11, 2014 at RJI. Organized by the Journalism Digital News Archive initiative, this two-day forum was the first in a series of outreach events designed to facilitate cooperation, collaboration and alignment among media companies, memory institutions and other stakeholders committed to preserving the “first rough draft of history” created in digital formats. 

The following sessions have been curated into the above video playlist:

  • Keynote (video 1): Clifford Lynch, Coalition for Networked Information
  • Rocky Mountain News and Denver Public Library conversation (videos 2-4): Randall Roberts, formerly of the Rocky Mountain News; Jim Kroll, Denver Public Library; and panel discussion with Roberts, Kroll and James Rogers, Denver Public Library
  • News executives conversation (video 5): Andy Waters, Columbia Daily Tribune; Marc Wilson, TownNews.com; Tom Warhover, Columbia Missourian; Ryan Famuliner, KBIA; Mike Meiners, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Teri Hayt, GateHouse Media Ohio; and Mizell Stewart, The E.W. Scripps Company
  • Storytracker (video 6): Ben Welsh, Los Angeles Times
  • Closing remarks (video 7): Katherine Skinner, Educopia Institute


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