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Rogers is still looking for other prospects as well. He said he's inspected the photo archives of America's top 100 largest newspapers, and has either made offers or determined a purchase wouldn't be profitable (in many cases, Rogers said, newspaper photo archives have been cannibalized, with employees taking home photos of the famous and infamous as souvenirs). Rogers Partners is also talking to newspapers in Australia, Sweden, New Zealand, China and the UK about buying archives there. Rogers also acquired his first video archive in August, buying the 50-year collection of famed documentary filmmaker David Hoffman, with over 2,000 hours of video — including what Rogers believes is the only unedited copy of President John F. Kennedy speaking at the dedication of Greers Ferry Dam in October 1963, a little over a month before he was assassinated.
The way the Rogers Photo Archive sells its materials is also changing. Two years, ago, Rogers started planetgiant.com, which uses content from the collection to make everything from inspirational posters to large murals of sports greats. Within the month, he said, his new argentaimages.com will go live, with several million photos for sale to the general public.
Rogers is North Little Rock to the bone, and says that's where his company will stay. He has purchased land near his Poplar Street properties and plans to build a dedicated home for the archive there in coming years. "I'm big on North Little Rock," he said. "I like the town. I don't want to move anywhere else."
Standing in the conference room, surrounded by boxes and boxes of photos, he can't seem to stop himself from flipping through. Though he said he's sure some people will laugh when they hear it, he said he sees the work they're doing as a service to the country.
"Our nation's history is not preserved," he said. "The U.S. newspapers were there to document our history, because we live in such a great country that has free media and free speech. At every event, you had the media there, and they printed it the next day in the paper. But in terms of long-term preservation, they've done a very poor job. We're doing it right. We're doing it the right way."
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