Outlet: Main Line Times
Journalist: Andy Stettler
Tags: archives, engagement
Andy Stettler, executive editor at the Main Line Times, brought to our attention a very smart community engagement tip — one uniquely fit to legacy media outlets with deep roots in their coverage areas. Like many Digital First Media publications, the Main Line Times has been in business for generations. What Stettler realized is the paper’s microfilm archives, which date back to 1930, could be used as a source of relevant and engaging content for today’s readers.
Leading up to the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Stettler took some time to research how the Main Line Times covered that historic event. Stettler found that the Main Line Times released its first post-Pearl Harbor edition on December 11, 1941, four days after the attack, and included stories about how the nation and the Main Line specifically were preparing for war. After converting the pages into a PDF file, he uploaded the spread to Scribd, an online document service, and embedded it into an article page.
He knew it was a success when he heard from relatives of someone featured in that archival edition. Stettler writes:
Two readers contacted me after they noticed a family member of theirs was pictured on the front page of the 1941 edition. Now the daughter of the solider pictured is going to send me a story written from their research on her father. Apparently, this soldier whose last name is McIntyre was in the Pacific and in Europe. He was there for D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge.
Archives = Potential engagement.