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Journalism

MTV News Web Archive Trashed, Report Says

A monitor with the MTV logoDeposit Photos

A scathing report claims Paramount Global purged the library of MTV News content from the network’s website.

A wealth of stories about the music business over the past couple of decades is gone. Variety reported that Paramount Global just purged MTV News content from the network’s website.

Both mtv.com/news and mtvnews.com now redirect to MTV’s main website, where you’ll find very little music content. That is, after all, what that big M is supposed to stand for. Instead of music, you’ll find plenty of stuff about reality shows that I honestly can’t imagine anyone giving much of a hoot about.

But apparently, there are plenty of people who do. Television, after all, is more Democratic than our nation. When it comes to ratings, the majority actually does rule.

I’m old enough to remember when Music Television, which quickly became known as MTV, made its debut. The date was August 1, 1981. The network gave a home to a growing phenomenon in the entertainment industry: music video version of popular songs.

The very first music video I ever remember seeing was on a program that ran on some random cable channel. It played a handful of such videos before MTV came into being. The first actual music video — packaged as such — that I remember seeing was for Alicia Bridges’ song, “I Love the Nightlife.”

Yes, I’m old enough to remember the disco era, too!

It seems a tough pill to swallow

“The now-unavailable content includes decades of music journalism comprising thousands of articles and interviews with countless major artists, dating back to the site’s launch in 1996,” Variety wrote.

It suggested the deletion of the MTV News hip-hop-related archives might be the “most significant loss.” I hate hip-hop, but I also hate the notion that this content has apparently been tossed out as if it never existed.

You can imagine some of those who did the work to produce that content aren’t taking it well, either. Some of them have posted their thoughts — mostly anger — on social media:

Since I’m not exactly new to the concept of managing websites, both here and for my real job, it bothers me as well. No, I don’t have the personal stake those music journalists have, obviously.

But I can’t imagine just arbitrarily deleting years of content with no rhyme or reason.

Maybe Paramount Global has some rhyme or reason they aren’t telling anyone about. But since they’re not talking, we’re left to assume they just wanted to purge it.

And I have to wonder how much it was costing them to have that archive of content available for anyone who wanted to read it, even if there weren’t that many. News sites nowadays have years and years of content that stays put.

I can understand if they felt keeping the video archive would cost too much. But if that was the case, they could have taken the videos offline. The written content still served as a valuable record people could have enjoyed for a long time to come, even if they no longer produced new “MTV News” content. MTV still exists. It’s not like the whole thing shut down.

Variety notes that MTV’s sister site, CMT — which stands for Country Music Television — also had its similar content purged. That suggests, then, that this wasn’t a glitch or an accident. Two sites is a pattern, after all.

I hate to see content disappear. In some cases, yes, what goes online stays there forever. But in other cases, unfortunately, that can suddenly change without explanation.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

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