Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Newspapers' digital archives pose ethical challenges

Interesting story in the Chronicle of Higher Education (free area) this week on how college alumni, including former student journalists are trying to rewrite history by asking that embarrassing material -- including stories they have written -- be taken down from college publication Web sites.

So time for a little self-promotion here.

Larry Timbs, Will Atkinson and I did some of the first exploration two years ago into the ethical and operational issues raised by newspaper Web sites and the digitization of newspaper archives. We asked newspaper editors a wide range of questions, including some relating to four possible situations in which someone might ask that their picture or a story naming them be taken down.

You can find How America's newspapers handle (or don't handle) their 'digital attics': An investigation into ethical, legal and privacy issues emerging from publications' Web archives at the Grassroots Editor Web site. (The paper was presented at the 13th Newspapers and Community Building symposium.)

If you want the direct link to the PDF, here it is.

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