On Tuesday, August 16, old issues of the Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel vanished from Google News Archive. According to Urban Milwaukee, new JS owner Gannett Co. Inc. made no announcement that decades of material had been removed from the free, searchable archive, and Googlers were simply greeted with a boilerplate message: “Google News Archive no longer has permission to display this content.” A JS employee cryptically told Urban Milwaukee that “we have contracted with a new vendor (Newsbank.) It is unclear when or if the public will have access to the full inventory that was formerly available on Google News Archive.”
So yeah, that sucks—for local historians, students, and anyone looking for information on, oh, let’s say, old TV jingles. But, for what it’s worth, there’s now a MoveOn.org petition to restore the old files: “Chris Stegman: Restore Milwaukee’s Newspaper Archives!” directly calls on the recently instated president of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to tear down this (fire)wall. “Students, scholars, and all manner of active citizens have relied on free access to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel archives to better understand our community’s history,” says the petition. “The removal of these archives on Tuesday, August 16 makes it impossible for most citizens to view this valuable information. Please show your support for our city by restoring access to these archives.”
As of Monday night, the petition, which was started by Ted Chisholm, son of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, had 117 signatures. Meanwhile, that “Remove Paris Hilton from the 2015 Summerfest lineup” thing still proudly stands at 7,567.