My blog post on ways to generate more value from newspaper archives drew two responses about newsrooms using old photos in projects they call Flashbacks.
Joan Walters of the Hamilton Spectator explained the first project in an email, which I’m using as a guest post, with her permission:
We’re posting Flashbacks from The Hamilton Spectator’s pool of archived photos at least twice a week – using news events (snow storms, local controversies, major anniversaries such as the recent 25th anniversary of the Hagersville Tire Fire, which remains the biggest environmental disaster in Ontario history).
The focus for us is to relate the Flashback material directly to our website, thespec.com. We don’t post archive photos unless we can relate the post somehow to thespec.com with story links to the web at the top of each blog post.
A simple example is Jon Wells’ long read on the weekend about The Way we Shopped, which carried only a handful of available photos on the website. So we cross-linked the web story to the Flashback blog post, where the link to Jon’s story was also placed.
We have an Omniture tag on the Flashback blog to make sure we benefit from traffic, which has been good.
When we post on Flashback and it’s not directly related to a current story, we place a click-through to the blog on our website carousel, using the best photo.
High levels of commenting on some of the posts teaches us what’s popular, what works, and what doesn’t.
For instance, a post on a long-gone ski hill and winter sports park soared during a local controversy over banning sledding and readers went crazy over a simple I Remember post on a popular restaurant-motel.
It’s early days yet but it’s working for us.
The other Flashback example came in a tweet, so it didn’t offer as much detail:
— Amy Driscoll (@DriscollAmy) February 23, 2015
The Herald’s Flashback feature mostly features galleries on topics relating to Miami culture — such as South Beach and beauty pageants — but also looks back on incidents in Miami history — such as a visit from Winston Churchill and another historic fire.