Scanning the Lumberjack: Digitizing 90 years of News - Humboldt State Now

Scanning the Lumberjack: Digitizing 90 years of News

Nine decades of HSU history – as recorded by student journalists for the Lumberjack newspaper – will be scanned and made searchable online.

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The first issue of The Fog-Horn — which would later become the Lumberjack — was published in 1929.

Nine decades of HSU history – as recorded by student journalists for the Lumberjack newspaper – will be scanned and made searchable online.

“This will be a slick, useful resource for scholars and students,” says Deidre Pike, chair of the HSU Department of Journalism. “Right now, searching through past editions of the paper means either paging through bound volumes of past papers or scrolling through endless loops of microfilm. It’s tedious.”

Under the HSU Library project, students will be hired to scan newspapers from 1929 to 2019 — from microfilm, paper editions, and more recent PDFs of the paper. The archives will be available on HSU’s Digital Commons.

Librarian Garrett Purchio, an HSU journalism alum, will be training the students to use scanning software and database systems.

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The newsroom of the Lumberjack. The Humboldt State University student newspaper turns 90 this year.

“I’m really excited to have students bringing this project to life as they will be the ones digitizing the pages for online access,” says Purchio. “This project will be a testament to the amazing students we have here at HSU.”

Purchio worked for the Lumberjack for 11 years — first as a student, then as an alum. He was a student sports reporter, sports editor, and layout editor. From 2009-2017, Purchio was business and advertising manager for the Lumberjack and other HSU student media.

“When I was with the Lumberjack, being able to find stories in previous editions was a challenge that the students and I always faced,” Purchio says. “We’d keep copies of previous editions in the office, but the system was not effective for finding articles in a timely manner.”

Through student reporting and writing, the Lumberjack, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary in the fall, has provided a running chronicle of Humboldt State and the Arcata community since its first edition came out in 1929.

Journalism Professor Marcy Burstiner, who has advised the student newspaper since 2004, applauded the digitization project.

“This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” Burstiner says. “It’s going to give people access to all kinds of historical information not only about the University but the community.”

The Lumberjack has been a training ground for hundreds of journalists who now work around the world at global media venues including Forbes, the San Francisco Chronicle, HuffPost, and Al Jazeera English, and who work in public relations from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

“It’s even more exciting,” Burstiner says, “that the digital archives will give our army of Lumberjack alumni out there in the profession access to their clips.”

Lumberjack editor-in-chief Dajonea Robinson says she’ll enjoy having the archives available for the use of her reporters and section editors.

“Digitizing 90 years of past Lumberjacks is truly amazing,” Robinson says. “I think it’s extremely important to see how life has changed over the past 90 years and compare it to recent times.”