Rag Linen – When History is Never History

During my entire working life, the publishing and newspaper industry has been under constant evolution and threat. As a 16 year old, I spent a week’s work experience with the Sydney Morning Herald where I made and drank a lot of coffee, listened to the police and emergency services radios and generally wondered what was going on. One of the highlights of the week was an early morning visit downstairs to the print room where the newspapers were typeset and printed.

I met a man must have been in his late 50s. He had been partially deafened by the roaring of the presses. He explained that he had worked on the floor since he was an apprentice and he had seen a lot of change. He was afraid that his working life was coming to an end soon — that his skills were no longer valued. He then asked me for my name, turned to his typesetting machine, flicked a few keys, and seconds later, handed me a metal row of type bearing the words "DAVIN HEATON".

Two years later, the typesetting machines were replaced by computers.

And while the story of newspapers continues to evolve, there is something fascinating that they bring to the study of marketing. Take a look through some old newspapers and you will be amazed at the way that advertising has changed even in the last 50 years. Look at the placement. Think about the editorial and its proximity. Then contrast it to what is done today. Clearly the development of "niche" content has been well underway well before the Internet’s Long Tail piqued our interest.

So it is rather fascinating, for me at least, to see two forms of the long tail overlap. My friend, Todd Andrlik has just launched a new site, RagLinen.com, that sells historic and rare newspapers — giving new, fresh audiences the chance to read and engage with the events that shaped our histories — one story at a time (there is even an affiliate program). Todd says:

Attention marketing and media professionals! Looking for the perfect collectible and investment for your industry. Look no further, it’s rare and historic newspapers. These are the newspapers that first reported about the plague, smallpox, kings and queens, pirates, colonies, revolution, founding fathers, civil war, assassinations, great fires and more. All are 100 percent authentic originals. Framed, they make great wall art at PR and advertising agencies, or unique gifts for your corporate marketing clients.

Be sure to check out Todd’s launch post … and some of the rare items he has available now.


One thought on “Rag Linen – When History is Never History

  1. I never really appreciated history until a few years ago. I’ve since become a huge history buff and have fallen in love with historic newspapers as a collectible. These are museum-quality artifacts with first reports about history’s greatest events. As a marketing and media professional, I also appreciate the history of the medium – the paper, the printing, the headlines, the sizes, etc.

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