An article published this week by The Atlantic rings an alarm over the impermanence of online-only content.
In ‘Raiders of the Lost Web’ Adrienne LaFrance uses as a case study an early venture in turning a piece of narrative journalism into a multimedia ‘web experience’:
[Kevin] Vaughan spent the better part of a year reporting the story. And in that time, a team of web designers, photographers, videographers, and engineers worked with him to build a web experience around the series—the first time the [Rocky Mountain News] had built something digital of this scope… It was worth the effort… In 2008, Vaughan was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for the series. The next year, the Rocky folded. And in the months that followed, the website slowly broke apart. One day, without warning, “The Crossing” evaporated from the Internet.
In the (less important) world of beer much of value has also been lost, in part or in full, or lingers on only in fragile form via the Wayback Machine web archiving project.