The recent emergence of the bombshell "Access Hollywood" clip that sat in the NBC vaults for over a decade before wreaking havoc on the Trump campaign illustrates the value of keeping archival material searchable and retrievable.

The Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan recently listed several “journalism lessons” that reporters could take from the current presidential campaign. Among her many takeaways was this: “Research your own company’s archives. If you find something extraordinarily newsworthy there, don’t sit on it at a crucial moment in the nation’s history.”'

I’ve written before about the importance and value of archives for news organizations, as have many others, including Josh Stearns, then at the Dodge Foundation, Associated Press corporate archivist Valerie Komor, and Library of Congress Program Officer Abbey Potter.

But for many news organizations, archiving material for easy retrieval is easier said than done. In 2014, a survey released by the Missouri School of Journalism’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute revealed that “27 percent of hybrid news organizations and 17 percent of online-only enterprises said they’ve experienced a significant loss of news content due to technical failure.”

It’s hard to keep digital archives for a number of technical and financial reasons. But we have an imperative to do so, says Edward McCain of the Reynolds Journalism Institute and University of Missouri Libraries. McCain leads the Journalism Digital News Archive program and thinks a lot of about issues around access and preservation of digital news.

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