When Philadelphia City Paper ceases publication after a final issue next Thursday, Oct. 8, the alternative weekly's extensive archives could disappear with it.
Temple University Libraries is actively seeking to acquire the paper and digital back issues and business records. But Broad Street Media – which purchased the newspaper this week – is not willing to part with them.
"These are valuable and we would actually want to keep them," Broad Street Media publisher Perry Corsetti said. Broad Street owns the competing Philadelphia Weekly, and purchased the 34-year-old City Paper with the intention of folding it. Staffers at the newspaper were told the archive would also disappear from the Internet imminently.
Corsetti said no decisions have been made about what will happen to the materials.
"Temple is very interested in acquiring the City Paper archives," Margery Sly, director of Temple libraries' Special Collections Research Center, said in an email.
Sly said she was close to an agreement on materials from 1981 to 1996 with the paper's founder, Bruce Schimmel.
Schimmel said he thought it likely his complete archives from that period would be housed at Temple, and hoped that Broad Street Media would consider doing the same.
"It would create tremendous goodwill, I think, if they released the archive to the public domain so people could continue to benefit from it in some way."
Full disclosure: I worked at City Paper from 2011 to 2013 and my work is included in those archives. I wrote a remembrance of City Paper in today's Inquirer.