Berenice Houser

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All newspapers maintain a dedicated back numbers and archive department. This is because savvy proprietors have realised there will always be a market for people wanting to buy back numbers for sentimental reasons - ie, the one published on somebody-significant's birthday always sells well, and there are a lot of possible birthdays in a year - and among writers/historians looking to find out what people might have thought was going on, on any particular day in history. So rather than pulp the day's unsold copies, they are directed to a warehouse somewhere for storage and resale. There is also the secondary reason that nostalgia sells papers - all newspapers seem to have an On This Day... feature, where they look back ten or twenty-five or fifty years in history to reprint the day's news, from a date long enough ago to count as either nostalgic or historical.

The person in charge of this department at the Ankh-Morpork Times is Berenice Houser. She is a divorced but vaguely optimistic woman in her forties with a soft spot for the clergy - one who continues to trust in her Gods when she can no longer trust in Men. It is entirely possible that one day, when the Times has been around long enough to have an On This Day... feature, she will select and edit the material for publication. While divorced, and while by no means being as blatant about it as a Mrs Whitlow, she wouldn't mind if Mr Right, or Mr I'll Settle For Almost Right, were to come along sometime soon. She belongs to a God of the Month club, and this month her thoughts are turning to Om as the answer to her unspoken prayer. This is due to the Omnian priest with the funny teeth who is patronising her archive. Although she really ought to be more discerning, as this priest is not all he seems to be...

It is not known if she is related to the University student wizard "Rubber" Houser, who invented the Graphical Device.

Annotation, or at least a note

Then there are the complete reprints, from dates really significant in history. Most Roundworld newspapers, for instance, chose to reprint entire 1930's and 1940's editions in the period 1989-1995, to celebrate 50 years after significant events in the Second World War. Or at least, most British newspapers did this. The then editor of the Daily Mail is reported, on good authority*, to have summoned his analogue of Berenice Houser to the office, upbraided her for her idleness and short-sightedness, and demanded of her the reasons why the Daily Mail was not reprinting copy from the 1930's.

Infuriated by the tirade of insult, she is reported to have found front pages from the 1930's to lay before her editor, which made him go white, then green, then sink to a gibbering heap in the corner of his office invoking his God and the God's eldest son to bear witness. Well, nobody likes to be reminded that the newspaper they edit once had headlines like Hooray for Mr Hitler!, or "We believe the Nazi Party represents solid progress for Europe and will create a stable and peaceful continent, or The Daily Mail says - vote Fascist!. Not to mention a rather anti-Semitic line the paper took at the time. The Mail took an editorial line that was not only pro-German but pro-Nazi... right up until September 1939, when it had to perform an about-turn that was almost Stalinist, or otherwise it faced being closed down for supporting the enemy in wartime.

The Mail never printed anything from its archive to show how it unstintingly supported Britain in the run-up to WW2... this is the power a newspaper archivist can wield...

*Satirical magazine Private Eye