News Online Seems to Have Long Shelf Life

"A new research paper seeks to answer a riddle for publishers, editors and even readers: when does new news become old news?

In the case of a news article on the Internet, the answer is surprisingly long: 36 hours on average, according to the paper, “The Dynamics of Information Access on the Web,” which appeared in the June issue of Physical Review E, the journal of the American Physical Society."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/17/business/media/17decay.html

Comments

alkieanon's picture

This news article was in 2006, wonder if there is an update to the original research paper. Has the 36 hour average time increased or decreased?

JR Harris's picture

Depending upon the news outlet, current news becomes archived in 6 to 12 months from my experience. The news is still there, you just have to pay to search the archive online or at the actual paper copies. Small newspapers that follow a court case, arrest or other incident archive rather quickly unless it makes a national news outlet such as CNN, Reuters or Associated Press (AP).

Newspapers and magazines go out of business or change names and some aren't digitized and online. The best place to research an incident is at a University Library that archives multiple publications. The best and most extensive archives are at Federal Depository Libraries or Law Libraries who archive everything they can. Smaller news outlets are normally only archived regionally or locally and sometimes not at all. An example of this would be the Katonah Patch in Westchester County in New York. It may or may not be archived at the Katonah Village Library. If the information it gives in the form of names, places and dates and the digital copy is archived or removed from the web, all information may be lost.

When referencing a local court case or arrest the information often has a very short online lifetime. The information is still there at the court house, but you need to know the name of the court house, the presiding judge and the actual court case as well as dates. Not all court houses have digitally available public archives. Police stations normally have very little online archives, but the information is available if you show up in person and know the name of the officer, the date of incident and the name of the perpetrator. In both of these cases it requires a trip to the actual court house or police station which can often be cost prohibitive.

That is why it is important when you do find a news report of interest, to capture the names of those involved, the arresting officer, the police station they belong to, the court house, the judge, dates and the name of the reporter reporting it as well as the name of the publication. This way you can reconstruct all of the information if need be.

Unfortunately some of the AA faithful know that information disappears off the web and it can not be retrieved unless you are willing to spend the money to travel and go to physical archives. This is evident in places such as Stepping Stones in Bedford, New York. they are being accused of increasing the traffic in a residential neighborhood and attempting to make the home of Bill and Lois Wilson a mecca and pilgrimage spot. The Stepping Stones Annual Family Groups picnic is in its 61st year, but how much can you find out about the other 60 picnics? Not much online but you may be able to find it at a local archive.

Then again, with information disappearing this quickly and the AA faithful knowing it, the current trend is to disavow the information given and not dispute it, just say "Dig Deeper" and link to something else.

~You can not moderate the internet. Just don't lie, steal or make stuff up out of thin air and expect to get away with it without it being pointed out to you. It's really very simple.~

alkieanon's picture

Pre-internet, a person had to do the actual research and the legwork. Now, free search engines make it easier to "dig deeper". Paid subscription model will make it harder. Not sure if Google's new "semantic search" will introduce more "clutter" to results:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230445980457728184285113629...

New organizations "know" what is new news, old news, archive news, or news to be deleted from their internet websites based on their policies and procedures.

Agree that the name of the reporter is key to any reconstruction of an old news story. They have their notes, inside knowledge, and access to the news archives.

Why no follow up on the old news story by the reporter? Dunno. Maybe the old news story has no more "legs", then there is no new news to report.

If just a single story, hence the "dig deeper" challenge to find more to prove an accusation.