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Should archives by behind a paywall?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Illino, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Illino

    Illino Member

    Do you think newspaper archives should be behind a paywall? My personal opinion is that everything that is more than a year old should be freed up.
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    You can usually get the archives to a lot of newspapers if you have a library card and run a search of their indexes.
  3. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    This would be the very first thing I'd charge for.
  4. Interesting question. From a search-engine standpoint, I'd say putting everything past a year behind a pay wall would drop your overall views by a significant percentage.

    What other parameters are we assuming here? Is the newspaper already using a general pay wall with a 15-20 free reads per month?
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    It depends, and I'm not being flip, on the following question:

    Can a newspaper make money on them by putting them behind a paywall?

    If the answer is "yes," they should be behind a paywall.

    I'm as frustrated as the next guy when I have to pay for my own old clip, but I definitely understand why.
  6. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Keep in mind most newspapers make diddly squat from archives.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Sure, but what's the downside to putting them behind a paywall? Good will? How does it benefit the newspaper to make archives free?
  8. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Absolutely right. Information has value.

    When your company has a commodity that people not only want, but will actively seek out ... why anyone would give it away is beyond me. Make money where you can, rather than missing the opportunity and then trying to cut your way to profitability.
  9. reformedhack

    reformedhack Active Member

    Mainly because most of them sold their archives to services like Lexus-Nexus for pennies on the dollar, when they could be keeping the revenue entirely for themselves.
  10. Glenn Stout

    Glenn Stout Member

    For most papers, the horse is out of the barn. As someone who uses newspaper archives extensively, and has done so for about two decades, most papers have made their archives available thru third parties (lexus nexus, newsarchive, newslibrary or free thru local libraries, although many PL's have dropped that benefit recently). Outside of a handful of national papers, I really doubt the revenue stream, for archive holdings that go back more than a few recent years, is significant when balanced against the administrative cost. I just wish ProQuest would allow individual a/o a la carte use.
  11. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Administrative cost? Do you not know that we have to maintain the archives anyway for in-house use?
  12. NoOneLikesUs

    NoOneLikesUs Active Member

    Anyone ever browse through these?


    Unfortunately you need that precise link to get to it. Google will no longer bring up that page when you do a search for the newspaper archives. They're working on phasing it out.
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