The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Free the S&B archives from PWeb and loggia

This summer, the administration took the Scarlet & Black archives down off our website,, and uploaded them instead to PWeb and the Loggia, granting access only to current Grinnellians and alumni respectively. The change was a student decision, made two years ago by SPARC after consulting the editors-in-chief of the S&B and relevant administrators, including then-SPARC mentor Travis Greene and Director of Communications Kate Worster.

We plan to put our archives back online.  Their current location on Grinnell servers is too obscure to be practical—S&B editors had not found the page on PWeb before Thursday. To our knowledge, no one has found the page from the Loggia, which seems to connect digital cobwebs better than alumni. Everyone will soon be able to read all articles recent enough to be posted online and download .pdfs  of newspapers going back decades.

Furthermore, non-Grinnellians often have a legitimate interest in our articles. For over two years, the Huffington Post has republished S&B articles of national interest, such as Raynard Kington being named Grinnell’s President and Michelle Bachmann’s disrupted campaign event in town this fall. Stories have trickled back of other colleges basing policies off Grinnell’s, as described in our online articles. Also, prospective students and parents may want to read first-hand reporting of Grinnell’s history.  S&B reporting is of and by Grinnell, but for anyone who wants to read it.

We acknowledge that the archives were taken offline for an important reason.  Alumni applying for jobs were sometimes asked in interviews about shenanigans from their college days found on Google by potential employers.  The S&B, as well as the offices of Communications and Alumni Relations, have occasionally received requests to take down past articles. It is our policy to change names by request in stories that may be controversial outside of Grinnell.

Johnny Buse ’10, co-editor-in-chief at the time of these archival decisions, experienced these requests first-hand.

“If you know your product is high-quality and fair and journalistically ethical, then make [those articles] available to everybody,” Buse said. “But you can’t speak for newspapers in the past.”

Buse agreed with the decision to move the archives to internal servers in part because he viewed the S&B as “campus-based,” which he acknowledges may be changing.

In this age of the internet, we should embrace our place in the global news community by making our articles available. We can protect against incendiary articles by making certain .pdfs non-searchable by request. The S&B will work closely with SPARC to come to a decision about this issue and will report any changes.

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  • J

    JJan 11, 2013 at 5:54 pm

    Soon is taking a little long.

  • B

    Bryan BoyceMar 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Estoy de acuerdo — I need to get a copy of an old photo essay I did for a job interview!