My daughter and I were shut out of the opening day of Julie and Julia, and lucky for me, because as we were nursing our sadness in the parking lot, Gannett Co., Inc. exec Kate Marymont called. So, here, straight from the horse’s mouth is Gannett’s side of the David vs. Goliath Citizen archives story:
Marymont said that “it is very apparent” from the e-mails she has received from various Tucsonans over the past few days that “there’s a misunderstanding that we promised the archives to the (Arizona) Historical Society.”
“We didn’t do that, we only promised to keep the archives open and available to the public,” she said, adding that anyone wanting access to the 139 years of Southern Arizona history through the eyes of Tucson Citizen reporters can get it right now. (Right now! Pack up the kids for a summer learning extravaganza!)
“All they have to do is contact the agency,” Marymont said, referring to TNI Partners, the company that prints the Arizona Daily Star and sells ads for both the Star and this citizen journalism venture at TucsonCitizen.com. TNI head Mike Jameson confirmed that he is “the point person on that” for persons wanting to access the archives for research or historical curiosity. (Easy access phone number for Jameson is: 573-4255.)
Marymont said the process for dealing with the archives “is very complicated, a very long process” and that “we certainly haven’t cut off contact with the Historical Society.”
“I don’t think they understood the very many layers of complexity involved in this,” Marymont said. “I could have explained that better, I’ll grant you that.” She added that she had sent an explanatory e-mail to the Society this afternoon, and that, like she told Rep. Daniel Patterson through e-mail this morning, Gannett isn’t certain yet if the Society will eventually be part of storing and preserving the archives.
Seems like a no-brainer to me: Gannnett may know how to run a media conglomerate (and there are a few dozen laid-off Arizona Republic journalists who may argue that point), but preserving history is the forte of the AHS, so Gannett should at least consult with the Arizona Historical Society while they’re making their way to a decision on saving this chunck of journalism history.