One of our challenges, and one likely shared by many legacy publishers, was finding materials from the archives that were in good shape and had supporting research materials. We had to carefully select visual assets that survived mergers and physical building moves, while rejecting materials that were not preserved over time. Doing this due diligence before embarking on the digitization process is important to ensure efforts are being put towards material that will have value and organization.
The variety of archival material that was digitized in this project allowed Gannett to experiment with several different content strategies at various properties. As a publisher, Gannett is pushing towards a subscription-based model for all of its media outlets, with aggressive growth goals. The Masters archival material offered us the opportunity to examine readership trends in content at different properties, with some being subscription-based and others being free to the public. This digitized material also allows Gannett to respond quickly to news where it is relevant to current-day events. An example of where we used these archival images was the recent death of groundbreaking Black golfer Lee Elder, using images through a gallery in Elder’s obituary.