How Arkansas Catholic Newspaper Digitized its Newspaper Archive

It’s the story no newspaper wants to write.

Publishers never want to have to inform readers that the newspaper’s archive is gone. It could have been the story for the Arkansas Catholic newspaper and its 91 year old bound volume archive. Rich with history and perspective, the newpaper’s archives were deteriorating and some of the oldest books were literally too fragile to touch. Editor Malea Hargett recalls, “Everytime we had to do a historical article, we had to go into those archives and it was very evident we were losing those pages.”

ArkCathArchiveFearing the history would soon be lost forever, Malea approached her publisher with a plea to digitally preserve the archive content before it was too late but was told the money simply wasn’t available. So, she came up with another way to save the archive. Today, just 5 years later, the complete archive is online accessible for the community to search and explore.

So, how’d she do it? With the help of guardian angels.   >>Read More


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Editor & Publisher Reports on Our Program Helping Publishers Monetize their Archives

E&PEditor & Publisher did a great job telling readers about Discover America’s Story which helps publishers monetize their archives.  The article in the April issue of Editor & Publisher explains how publishers can sell sponsorships to generate a revenue stream that can then be used to pay to have the archive scanned and hosted online.

“In the past, since there was no commercial value to their bound volume archives, many publishers turned to local libraries and historical societies to maintain these community records. Often, the archives were maintained or stored but remained difficult if not impossible to access and search,” said Paul Jeffko, SmallTownPapers president and founder. “Now with new technologies, we can make them accessible and use them for commercial purposes.”

>>Click here to read the full article written by Adreana Young.

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How Newspapers Successfully Generate Money to Digitize Archives


Hal Sacks led the fundraising campaign to digitize the Tidewater Jewish News archive.

When a Virginia community newspaper wanted to digitize its 68 year bound volume archive, it went to the community, asked for help and people started sending checks.

It’s not an anomaly. People, organizations and businesses are eager to be engaged and participate in efforts to preserve history and make it accessible to the world.  Increasingly, publishers are discovering ways to tap into that resource and create a new revenue stream they can use to finally preserve the documented history of their community. They are then able to have their archives scanned and placed online where they can be easily accessed and searched.

There are different models for successfully generating revenue.  Publishers can create a sponsorship ad program or, as in the case of the Tidewater Jewish News in Virginia, launch a community campaign.

The Jewish News started its community fundraising campaign in 2013 and raised enough donations to pay for digitizing nearly 70 years of bound volume archives and host it online. So, how’d they do it?

First, they had a passionate ambassador who understood the need to have the history accessible for the community and protected from damage or loss.  Author Hal Sacks (pictured), who writes book reviews for the newspaper, kicked off the campaign by donating proceeds from his book Hal’s Navy to the archive project and that was followed by an appeal published in the paper.  The community rallied and raised nearly $30,000.

“What surprised me most of all is that when I announced the project, I got thousand dollar checks from people we hadn’t heard from in ten years,” recalls Hal Sacks.

Generating community support for achive digitization is always successful because of the undisputable value the new historical resource provides for everyone – historians, genealogists, families, local businesses (past and present) and the newspaper staff.

“The online archive has huge value,” editor Terri Denison explains. “There’s a warm feeling seeing the history of our community. Now people can easily research both people and events… the online archive makes that so much easier. Everyone really loves seeing old photographs.” Denison said it has been particularly helpful for committees organizing local anniversary events for various organizations because they now have a foundation – a place to begin gathering information and images.

Shayna Horowitz worked for the Jewish News and helped organize the bound volumes for scanning. “I’ve discovered so much about the history, to see the articles about how much people did for the community. I see endless opportunities this resource will present for our future,” notes Horowitz.

Denison says the paper will continue to fundraise using the archive as there are some recent newspapers they’d like to scan. To do that and remind the community about the historical resource they now have at their fingertips, Denison will include a “This month in history…” half page dedicated to taking a look back at the community’s past and reminding everyone how easy it is to search the archive.

The first of the “This month in history” pages announced a heartwarming change in the way they refer to their online archive.  It has now been renamed in honor of Hal Sacks.  You can view The Hal Sacks Jewish News Archives at

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Discover America’s Story is about making money.

In addition to creating the first online newspaper archive repository dedicated to small town and community American newspapers, Discover America’s Story is about showing newspaper publishers that their archive content has significant value and, through its digitization, can generate revenue.  Digitizing isn’t a tough sell – every publisher we speak with is eager to have their bound volume and loose printed archives digitally preserved and placed online for the world to enjoy and explore.

The only stumbling block is their perception that they will have to dedicate scarce resources, both financial and in manpower, to make it happen. They rarely see the archive as a resource that can actually make money for them.

A great article came out last week – “Aviation Week Partners with Boeing to Digitize 100-Year Archive.” It’s a great reminder of the value of historical content.  In just its first two months, the article says the archive site had 45,000 unique visitors and that is good news for the advertising department.

The article quotes Aviation Week president Greg Hamilton: “This gives us a new content-based marketing vehicle. Next year we’ll gate this at various premium levels, but in addition to monetizing base subs or premium subs we also have an opportunity to do some enterprise-type sales of the content to corporations, government, and academia. For instance, we’ve already had companies ask us if there’s some way they can use these archives to document their own history with digital reprints—sort of a ‘my history as seen through Aviation Week’s archives’ type of thing.”

It’s a model that will not only work for Aviation Week owner Penton but also for the hundreds of newspaper publishers across the country who are trying to find a way to place their bound volume archives online while trying to survive in an age of dramatic changes in the media industry.

Publishers can contact us to learn more about generating revenue with archives and an easy turnkey program to make digitizing the content easy and stress free.

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Sponsorships deliver newspaper revenue.

You see it at nearly every sporting or entertainment event you attend – corporate sponsorships are everywhere and for good reason.  They work – generating significant dollars for organizations that are aware that businesses tend to have money set aside for community marketing efforts.

Sponsorships are also an effective way for newspapers to generate revenue they need to get things done like digitizing and making their historic archives online accessible and searchable.  Sponsorships work because historical preservation projects, like sporting events, are things people, and more importantly businesses, want to be a part of – people want to participate so engage them.

Think it won’t work?  Just see how it’s working for other newspapers across the country.

  •  The Mooreland Leader in northwest Oklahoma let the community know it was looking for sponsors to help put its archive online and almost immediately had a new revenue stream as local businesses and even individuals wrote checks to help.  Today, the archive is up and accessible at You can see sponsors recognized on the archive page.
  • The Jewish News of Tidewater in Virginia put out a call to the community that it was hoping to digitize its archives and, like The Mooreland Leader, people just started sending in money. Today, the archive scanning is almost complete. Read more here.
  • Arkansas Catholic, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock (AR), launched a successful “Guardian Angels” campaign in 2010 to fund the digitization of its archive dating back to 1911. See their campaign webpage at:

Discover America’s Story helps provide sponsorship materials to newspapers wanting to go that route to pay for scanning their bound volume or loose printed archives. Just contact us to find out how you can get free resources and begin securing your local sponsors today.

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A Proven Way to Monetize Your Bound Volume Archive

Nothing good is happening today to bound volume archives stashed in a storage room or packed away in a basement.  They generally just sit there – fragile and continuing to deteriorate.  Additionally, they’re virtually impossible for the community to search and explore.

Publishers tell us they have long wanted to scan the books but there are a few challenges – primary among them, money.  Publishers, especially those of small market or community newspapers, simply don’t have the resources to undertake what seems to be an overwhelming project.  And, even if they were able to afford quality scanning, they aren’t sure what would come next.

Discover America’s Story created a program that helps publishers generate the revenue they need for quality, intact scanning of bound volume and loose printed archives and it even offers publishers online hosting so there is nothing for them to do beyond putting books in the provided shipping containers.  The revenue generating program has been extremely successful with community newspaper publishers, some of whom have decided to keep the program going even after the archive digitization is complete, so that they continue to have revenue coming in.

With Discover America’s Story, the publisher is in control, setting rates, all revenue generated is theirs, the scanning is all inclusive (shipping containers, shipping, scanning and hosting), and they maintain 100% ownership and control of the newly created digital archive.

To get started, all publishers need to do is contact Discover America’s Story which will schedule the first shipment. The program even provides no-cost support to the newspaper helping create marketing materials to inform the community about the project. Email for more information.

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The Must-Try New Revenue Generator

Small market and community newspaper publishers have a fresh new revenue generator at their disposal – and it’s working, helping publishers generate enough money to pay to digitize their bound volume archives.

To try it, just contact Discover America’s Story (you can email and schedule your first archive scanning shipment.  Then you’ll have the digital archive to show to businesses in your community – businesses you’ll ask to sponsor your historical preservation project. Discover America’s Story even provides no-cost support to the newspapers to help reach out to sponsors.

  • Publishers set their own sponsorship rates and all revenue is theirs to keep.
  • Publishers retain all ownership and control of the newly-created digital archive.
  • Publishers scan the bound volumes at their own pace so it’s never overwhelming.

It’s that easy.  Publishers can contact Discover America’s Story to start their first shipment today.

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What We Learned at the Texas Press Association Conference

We were delighted to meet so many newspaper publishers and owners during the Texas Press Association conference earlier this month. We had some wonderful meetings with people eager to digitize their newspaper archives and make them online accessible.

A third of those who stopped by our exhibit booth had archives of more than 100 years which they’ve not yet digitized – there were numerous others who had 50-75 year archives and many have a mix of bound volume, loose printed and microfilm archives.  They represent hundreds of years of archive content that the public cannot get to today.

Publishers recognize that they’re the stewards of their community’s history and they want to make that history accessible for the world to explore and enjoy. Additionally, they want to preserve the pages that are currently held in bound volumes kept in a back office.  They don’t like risking that those books or loose printed issues could be damaged or lost should something happen like a roof collapse, flood or fire.  But, increasingly, publishers realize that they have a money maker in that archive content and they want to learn how it can successfully be monetized.

That’s what Discover America’s Story is all about – a proven method for newspapers to use to create a new revenue stream.  They sell ads against archive content and the revenue, which is all theirs, can be used to digitize the archive among other things.  An Oklahoma publisher started the program to generate revenue for digitization but after that was paid for, he continued to sell ad sponsorships and has an ongoing revenue stream to show for it.

Discover America’s Story also allows publishers to retain all ownership and distrubution rights to the digital archive and it provides an easy online hosting solution for those who want it use it.  Contact Discover America’s Story today to learn more about how to get started and ask about the program’s Guarantee.

Thank you again to the Texas Press Association for a great time at the mid-winter conference and trade show!

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Beware of some digitization programs & their fine print!

actionalertWe’ve had several customers notify us that they have been contacted by a state governmental organization that wants to digitize their archives, but they discovered in the small print that the program requires them to give up some authority over their copyrighted content.  So, what’s going on?

Some non-profit and governmental organizations are digitizing material but they are requiring that they are given some distribution or hosting rights to the digital content they create.  For newspapers wanting to digitize their archives, the offer may have captured their attention, but they need to know that there are options to be explored including Discover America’s Story which allows the publisher to keep all rights and control of their archive while having their bound volumes digitized.  Additionally, and what sets Discover America’s Story apart from other digitization programs, is that it actually helps publishers generate profit.

Discover America’s Story shows publishers how make money off of their archive with advertising and promotion campaigns that give businesses an irresistible way to showcase their commmitment to the community by sponsoring the digitization of the bound volume archives. It has been proven successful with The Mooreland Leader newspaper in Oklahoma which completed digitization in record time thanks to the large number of sponsors who paid to preserve their town’s history.

“The Discover America’s Story program is something we felt very strongly about and we wanted to be a part of sponsoring the online archives so everyone can have an opportunity to read every issue of The Mooreland Leader since 1903. This is a great program.”    Dirk Dewald, President of the Central National Bank of Enid (Oklahoma)

Click here to see The Mooreland Leader’s archive and click here to read their case study.  Contact us to learn more about Discover America’s Story and get started generating a new revenue stream using your archive today.

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Energize Your Ad Revenue

TPAImageWe look forward to meeting with newspaper publishers at the Texas Press Association Midwinter Conference and Trade Show on  January 21st!  If you’re attending, please visit us in Booth #30 or contact us today –  Below is a communication that went to conference attendees.

Don’t give up rights to your archive. Use it to generate new revenue!

Monetize your archive with advertising and promotion campaigns that give businesses an irresistible way to showcase their commitment to your community — sponsoring the digitization of your bound volume archive.

Discover America’s Story was proven successful with The Mooreland Leader in northwest Oklahoma which completed digitization in record time, thanks to the large number of local sponsors who wanted to ensure their town’s story and history was preserved and accessible. Here’s what one sponsor said about the opportunity.

“The Discover America’s Story program is something we felt very strongly about and we wanted to be a part of sponsoring the online archives so everyone can have an opportunity to read every issue of The Mooreland Leader since 1903. This is a great program.”
Dirk Dewald, President
Central National Bank of Enid (Oklahoma)

Why give up your archive assets to a non-profit or governmental organization when you can make money with them? With Discover America’s Story, you retain 100% ownership and revenue, and you control how your scanned archive is accessed. Contact us or visit us in Booth #30 at the Texas Press Association Midwinter Conference and Trade Show starting January 21st. We’ll show you how easy it is to get started today.

Contact us by emailing Paul Jeffko at

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