The Snoop

Newspapers are records and have been relied upon heavily since their inception.  In the U.S., the first newspaper was published in Boston in 1690, and it was called Publick Occurrences.  

Ironically, Publick Occurrences is deemed the first newspaper even though only one issue was printed and circulated before the government put a stop to its production.  Later, the Boston News-Letter was published on April 24, 1704 and today, it is noted as the first continuously – published newspaper in the United States.  

Archived Douglas County Herald newspapers start with the March 10, 1887 issue.  Issues are captured on microfilm and kept in our office library, which is filled with nearly 100 microfilm rolls and hard-bound volumes of Herald newspapers cataloged by year.  Both mediums capture every page of each newspaper and provide access in a format available for reading or copying.  

And in the near future, possibly by mid-July, readers and researchers will be able to access Douglas County Herald issues online in a format that allows searches by topic, name, date or news event. 

Today, amid our internet world of Facebook and Google, the Douglas County Herald continues to be a reliable source for records. Our newspaper provides a documented account of people, families, legals, social events, births, deaths, crimes, and Douglas County history.  

The importance of this type of access is priceless. 

Our newspaper serves as a document of record, a standing that television, radio or other mediums cannot accomplish as they rarely store the day’s entire programming for an unlimited period of time.  News stories from a certain broadcast may be found on the internet, but not the entire media run for that day.  

Our every issue is available from 1887, offering over 132 years of newspaper articles and write-ups.  We have all the good stuff, all the bad stuff and, every mistake. It’s all there. 

Each issue is also on file with the State Historical Society of Missouri.  

In the digital world, consumers are thrown from format to format,  a protocol that is ever changing. Maybe you remember –– recording film, vinyl records, cassette tapes, changing from analogue to digital, mimeograph machines, and mobile phones requiring a large case or bag and huge antenna. 

Video games have also changed tremendously since 1971-72 when Atari and Nutting Associates came out with Pong, and Computer Space, respectively. 

Newspapers continue to serve as an archive, a recordkeeper, and we continue to fulfill that need today.  Digital formats are a different story. 

A recent survey conducted by the Columbia Journalism Review found “the majority of news outlets had not given any thought to even basic strategies for preserving their digit content, and not one was properly saving a holistic record of what it produces. Of the 21 news organizations in our study, 19 were  not taking any protective steps at all to archive their web output.” 

The article also noted most of the participants in the survey were confused about digital backup, considering it archiving.  

Backup is for data recovery, not record archival and retrieval. The two processes are not the same.   

Recent incidents have shown that internet sites can shut down, content can be confiscated, and web sites just disappear….. without a trace.  

For some reason, valid or not, the newspaper industry has been under attack for years.  Accusations cite the industry is dying; however, I choose to believe the newspaper industry is evolving.   Changing into a new expanded offering.  

As the digital world continues to grow and evolve, so can we.  As we continue in this partnership, please know we appreciate our readers and advertisers, your support is integral.

And, as a longstanding journalistic news source, the Herald already has a head start on how to save content.  We’ve been recoding news and archiving since 1887.

Moving forward it seems there is a need for both mediums.