THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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13 posts categorized "Hyperlocal"

14 February 2016

From print to digital

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The news that The Independent and The Independent on Sunday are to close down, and the spin-off newspaper i to be sold off to Johnston Press, has led to much discussion about the future of newspapers. Is the decision to cease print and develop the independent.co.uk website a sign of the death of print newspapers? Was The Independent squeezed out of the market and hence a failure, or is the shift to web-only a timely strategic move, supported by growing use of what is apparently a profitable website, which other newspapers will inevitably follow in turn? Can a newspaper brand survive when it no longer has a newspaper?

Independent

The Independent in print, via Independent.co.uk

Here at the British Library we have seen many newspapers come and go. We take in 1,400 newspaper publications of one sort or another every week, but we have some 35,000 newspaper titles listed on our catalogue. A lot of newspapers have ceased publication over the past 400 years, and The Independent is merely the latest. But the gradual transference of a news industry from print to digital has major implications for what we collect in this area, and how. It is something that we are studying closely.

At present we acquire newspapers in print form. We would like to acquire more newspapers digitally, and newspapers today are produced in digital form (PDF usually) from which the print copy is then generated. But these digital copies are not published as such, consequently they do not qualify as 'publications' and cannot be collected under Legal Deposit. Of course some newspapers are available in digital facsimile form on their websites, which we could collect via our web archiving operation, but the PDFs that are available are of lower image quality (less suitable for preservation), and there is a shrinking number of these, as newspapers turn instead to aggregation services such as PageSuite to deliver their digital copies for them.

So why not just archive the websites? They have the same content as the newspapers, don't they? Well, no they don't. We recently  conducted a study in regional newspapers and their web equivalents, to see how similar content was between the two forms. We found that the typical UK regional newspaper, in any one week, had roughly 40% of stories unique to print, 15% unique to online, and 45% that the forms shared (we looked only at news editorial, not advertising, arts coverage or sport). Some newspapers are closer to their web equivalents than others, but in general the two forms are not the same, and are diverging all the more.

Title

Print issue date

No. of news stories

% unique to print

% unique to online

%  shared by both

Edgware & Mill Hill Press

30/7/2015

30

46

26

26

Hertfordshire Mercury

13/8/2015

90

49

34

16

Herts Advertiser

23/7/2015

72

30

33

36

Luton News + Herald & Post

12/8/2015

42

55

0

43

Medway Messenger

3/8/2015

75

73

13

13

Redditch & Alcester Standard

21/8/2015

51

19

13

66

Watford Observer

7/8/2015

65

4

3

92

The Wharf

20/8/2015

31

32

3

64

 Analysis of stories published by selected UK regional weekly newspapers

Nevertheless, we are archiving the websites. Since 2013, when non-print Legal Deposit legislation was introduced, enabling the British Library and the other Legal Deposit libraries in the UK and Ireland to start archiving the UK Web, we have been gathering in UK news sites. And whereas we archive most UK sites once a year, for news sites we are archiving them on an either daily or weekly basis. It's not just newspaper sites, however - we are capturing web-only news sites, community journalism sites (hyperlocals), news broadcasters' sites, news parody sites and more. We have 1,800 on our list so far, and we are still adding titles. It's not easy to keep track of all of the UK news sites, because there is no definitive list. The numbers keep shifting. Publications such as Benn's Media Directory keep a track of registered news publications on an annual basis, and the handy Local Web List database tries to identify all of the self-produced community journalism sites out there, but, frankly, trying to keep the Web in bibliographic order is like herding ants.

All newspapers and other serial publications in the UK are assigned a unique identifier, the ISSN (similar to the ISBN for books). The ISSN underpins the collecting of newspapers under Legal Deposit in this country, not least because it is key to issuing barcodes. So it is that we manage to keep track with nearly every UK newspaper as it is published.

The problem is that websites don't need barcodes. There is no operational ID system for pinpointing a news site, beyond knowing the URL, and that doesn't help when it comes to keeping track of all different variants, spin-offs (blogs, microsites etc) and other changes that a news site and its digital family may go through. And how do you define what a news website is in any case, if you start to include blogs, hyperlocals, forums and so on? 

Then there is the problem of referring to 'news websites', as though capturing these through archiving would be the answer. Newspapers were once the sole form in which printed journalism appeared. Today, newspapers have become apps. News is produced by publishers across diverse platforms which draw their material from content management systems. A newspaper is one such output; a website another; a mobile application another. To build the news archive of the future, we might need to think less of capturing print or digital publications, and more about preserving the engines that have generated them (and the digital content fed into such engines). Then we could generate how the news looked to anyone at a particular place and point in time, according to the applications and devices that would have been available to them.

Guardian

From print to digital, via Guardian

And that highlights another problem for the future archiving of news. A newspaper is predicated on the understanding that all who purchase it will share in the same news. They might have differing opinions about that news, yet they still share in it.

But news is not like that anymore. News is tailored to the individual, who has increasing editorial control over what news matters to them, as our news content strategy notes. Twitter feeds, Facebook news aggregation, multiple TV news channels, all put the selection of news in the hands of the consumer (even if the algorithms of Facebook and Google do much of that tailoring for us). No one sees the same news any more. This is why the archiving of Twitter is such a conundrum. There is no one Twitter out there - everyone's experience of it is different. How are we to recreate such an experience, to make our future news archives valid?

Theorising over the nature of news is all very interesting, but we have to make practical decisions to ensure that we archive newspapers, their digital derivatives and competitors in a multimedia news market, as thoroughly and efficiently as we can. We continue to take in most UK newspapers in print, and we are close to doing the same with news websites. We archive TV and radio news, albeit selectively. It would help a lot if we knew if and when newspapers are to disappear, but no one does.

Or maybe one person does. Speaking to the Leveson enquiry on 25 April 2012, Rupert Murdoch gave his thoughts on the future of print newspapers.

Every newspaper has had a very good run ... It's coming to an end as a result of these disruptive technologies ... I think we will have both [internet and print news] for quite a while, certainly ten years, some people say five. I'd be more inclined to say 20, but 20 means very small circulations.

And that could be it. Newspapers will last a generation. It may not be an even decline, because what applies to the nationals is not necessarily the same as the regionals. The UK's national newspapers, of which there are around 30, attract a particular kind of advertiser and have the potential to reach out internationally (which is what The Independent's owners are pinning their hopes upon). For regional newspapers, of which there are around 100 dailies and 1,200 weeklies, there seems to be a different model operating, one where local advertising combined with consumer loyalty may keep some titles in print for a good while yet, even as the same titles increase their digital foothold (the recent ranking of UK media publications for 2015 by SimilarWeb shows regional publisher like Kentonline, Birmingham Mail and Liverpool Echo among those titles with the highest percentage of mobile traffic share).

Top-mobile

The UK's top 10 publications ranked on mobile traffic share, via SimilarWeb

However long it takes, time is running out for print newspapers. It will be our job to ensure that we continue to serve the needs of UK research by increasingly gathering news in its digital forms. We need a smooth transition, with consistency of representation. The challenge is that the mechanisms to do so are not fully in place as yet. The technologies are; the means to ensure capture, identification and continuity are not. But we're working on it. 

11 August 2015

Web newspapers workshop

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Since April 2013 the British Library has been archiving millions of UK websites for the Legal Deposit UK Web Archive. Most of these sites are archived on an annual basis, but around 1,000 news-based websites are being archived on a weekly or monthly basis. These include newspaper title websites, news broadcaster sites, web-only news sites, and ‘hyperlocal’ community journalism sites.

We continue to add more news sites to the archive, and to review the frequency with which they are archived. All of the archives are made available in our Reading Rooms in London (St Pancras) and Yorkshire (Boston Spa), as well as the other Legal Deposit libraries in the UK and Ireland.

Newspages

We are undertaking a review of our digital news intake, and we would like to take in the views of researchers. The aim of this workshop is to introduce the Web news collection, to ask the participants to test out some of the archived news sites, and to discuss how best Web news sites can be used for research. We will be looking at the archived sites versus their live Web equivalents, and comparing Web news with newspapers.

The workshop will take place 2 September 2015, 15:00-16:00, at the Business & IP Centre, Floor 1, British Library (St Pancras). The workshop is free, but spaces are limited. If you are interested in taking part, please contact us at newspaper@bl.uk to book a place.

 To find out more about our Web news collections, visit http://www.bl.uk/collection-guides/web-news.

24 February 2015

Talking about things local

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Last year we wrote a post on how we were archiving community news websites, or hyperlocal sites, as part of our non-print legal deposit web archiving plans. Part of the great upheaval taking place at the moment in how news is produced, distributed, consumed and shared is the rise in self-produced news web services, usually serving a small community. The trend started in America, where it was given the name 'hyperlocal', and has spread vigorously to the UK, where it has caught the eye of funding bodies, academics and campaigners.

Hyperlocals

The British Library's strategy for news collection extends beyond newspapers to encompass all forms in which the news is produced and communicated across the UK. So it is important that we capture hyperlocal sites, just the same as we are capturing newspapers, the websites of newspapers, television and radio news. Sites such as The City Talking (Leeds), Brixton Blog, Papur Dre (Caernarfon)), Little Bit of Stone (Stone in Staffordshire) and Port Talbot MagNet are redefining what news is and who owns it.

The blog post attracted some interest, and since writing it we have - with the help of Dave Harte of Birmingham City University - identified some 500 hyperlocal websites from across the UK that we have now started archiving on a regular basis, and tagging as hyperlocal sites so that they and the phenomenon can be more easily traced by researchers in the future.

As part of our commitment to hyperlocal news, we are delighted to be playing host on Saturday 28 February to an 'unconference' organised by hyperlocal champions Talk About Local. An unconference is a conference without an agenda, as the idea is that the audience turns up and decides what the day should be about. So we can't tell you as such what is going to feature during the day, but the Talk About Local blog suggests that themes could include the upcoming general election, crowdfunding, the BBC and local news, working with the police, and working with local newspapers. Many of those attending will be producers of hyperlocal sites - a community of their own - and it is going to be exciting to see how this new newsform, still on a few years old, is shaping up to manage the great challenge of reporting the worlds most immediately around us today.

Tickets for the unconference (named #TAL15) can be booked here.

19 December 2014

2014 - the year's news about news

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2014 has been an extraordinary, sometimes harrowing, year for news. It has also been a highly significant year for the production and use of news itself - hot topics have included the hacking trial, IPSO, Buzzfeed, data journalism, Google and the right to be forgotten, Brown Moses, Ezra Klein, and the New York Times's leaked Innovation report. It's also been a major year for the British Library's news collection, with the opening of our Newsroom and the successful conclusion of our newspaper digitisation programme. Here are some of the highlights from the year's news about news.

NYT

January

The re-design of the New York Times website was much discussed. Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher was sacked. The Birmingham Post's Business Daily Tablet edition, designed to  “reinvent business journalism within the regional press,” closed after seven months. Also owned by Trinity Mirror was The People, a Buzzfeed-style site populated with "native content". It lasted three months.  But Trinity enjoyed rather more success with viral news site UsVsTh3m. Charley Miller at Medium wondered if in the future we might all become personal broadcasters. News UK launched The Academy, to train teenagers to become journalists. James Harding of BBC News gave a key speech, 'Journalism Today' at the British Library (the first of our three WT Stead lectures). Philosopher Alan de Botton's book The News was not reviewed kindly. Facebook announced Paper. Kola Dumor, the BBC World News presenter, and Chris Chataway, athlete, politicians and news reporter for BBC and ITN, died.

Liberation

February

The staff of French left-wing journal Libération took over the front page to protest at the paper's shareholder group's plans to turn it into a social and cultural hub. Richard Sambrook and Sean McGuire argued that 24-hour news has had its day - and got an angry response from Sky News's Adam Boulton. London news radio station LBC went national. Marc Andreessen's optimistic piece, 'The Future of the News Business', was much shared and debated. 

538

March

American data guru Nate Silver launched data journalism site FiveThirtyEight. Getty made 35 million images freely available.  The New York Times issued a correction for an article written 20 January 1853. The Sun's Page 3 v Breast Cancer campaign did not impress the campaign site No More Page 3Susanna Reid left BBC Breakfast for ITV's planned Good Morning Britain programme. Are robots the future of news? Andrew Pettegree's book The Invention of News, on the early history of newspapers, was greatly admired. The Evening Standard-backed London TV Channel, London Live, went live.

Newsroom

April

The British Library opened its new reading room for news, the Newsroom. Emly Bell lectured at the Library on Journalism in the Age of Automation and Big Data. Celebrity news blogger Ezra Klein launched Vox.com, with its user-friendly 'cards' giving background information to stories. News headlines from UK regional newspapers became an Internet cult. Are automated breaking news stories the future of news? But what about how the news archives of tomorrow will look, asked Adrienne LaFrance. 26 searching questions for news organisations from Raju Narisetti about the move to digital. The Mirror's 'crying child' front cover (which turned out to be a stock photo, not a British child in need of food parcels) caused controversy. British Pathé released 85,000 historic newsreels on YouTube. The New York Times joined the explanatory journalism craze with offshoot The Upshot. Dutch government-funded news site Blendle asked you to pay for stories, giving you your money back if you were not completely satisfied

Innovation

May

Most discussed news-about-news subject of the year was probably the leaked copy of the New York Times's 'Innovation' report, making many - and not just in the newspaper world - think if they were doing enough about digital. But just why was the NYT's executive editor Jill Abramson fired? The British Library published a news content strategy (and not a newspaper strategy). Facebook and Storyful launched FB Newswire. London Live's chief programmer quit after terrible audience figures. Nate Silver's advice to young journalists - learn to code. Good Morning Britain launched (to a mixed reception). Max Clifford was found guilty. Journalist of the year? - quite possibly citizen journalist and social media sleuth Eliot Higgins aka Brown Moses. Immersive narratives became all the rage, led by BBC News's The Reykjavik Confessions. The British Newspaper Archive reached 8 million historic newspaper pages online. And the Duchess of Cambridge's rear became front page viewing (elsewhere).

Miliband

June

Ed Miliband's interview for Buzzfeed saw his comments on reading the news being analysed a great deal (he uses RealClearPolitics). Also much devoured was the Reuters Institute's annual Digital News Report. As was Robert Peston's speech on threats to journalism.  Benedict Cumberbatch helped bring BBC radio news scripts of D-Day (from the British Library's collection) back to life. Are drones the future of news? The Sun tried to give a free copy of a version of the paper backing the England football team at the World Cup, which didn't impress everyone. Ed Miliband then apologised for endorsing it. An Egyptian court sentenced two Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in jail and one to ten years in jail. Jeremy Paxman stood down from Newsnight. At the end of the phone hacking trial, News of the World editor Andy Coulson was found guilty of a conspiracy to intercept voicemails, while former News International chief executive Mrs Brooks was found not guilty. Is Fox News more dangerous than ISIS? So Russell Brand claimed in a YouTube video. And the dream headline occured - Man Bites Dog

Ukraine

July

Social sleuthing from Storyful uncovered evidence of surface-to-air missiles in eastern Ukraine following the shooting down of airliner MH17, as verification of online information became the topic of the hour. Sky News' Colin Brazier was condemned for a live news broadcast when he briefly looked through the content of the luggage of one of the victims of MH17, and produced a thoughtful apology. Ian Burrell at The Independent said poor news coverage was exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. A European court decision allowed individuals to request that Google remove links to historical articles which has personal information that they would rather was forgotten. George Clooney forced Mail Online to apologise. Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow's heartfelt video account of the child victims in Gaza went viral. There was a timely and useful report on the state of hyperlocal community news in the UK. The Independent launched i100. Brown Moses launched the Bellingcat site to train others in crowdsourced reporting. The 'Fake Sheikh' was himself entrapped. Sarah Palin launched a news channel. There was plagiarism at BuzzfeedThe Sun said farewell to Wapping.

Vice

August

Medyan Dairieh of Vice News scooped the world with his insider video report on the Islamic State. Is virtual reality the future of news? Chapman Pincher died, aged 100. Nick Davies published Hack Attack, on the phone hacking saga. Newspapers marked the centenary of the First World War with solemnity. American started to get alarmed about ebola. David Carr pronounced on the imminent death of the print newspaper.  So did Clay Shirky. 4,000 Buzzfeed posts disappeared. The sound of typewriters returned to the newsroom of The Times. American journalist James Foley was murdered in Syria.

Scotland

September

According to Twitter, Scotland won its independence. Alan Rusbridger spoke at the British Library on the urgent need to protect journalists' sources. The Guardian announced the building of Guardian Space (in King's Cross). Do people remember news better if they read it in print? The dizzying decline of Britain's local newspapers. Newsnight's Ian Katz on the death of the political interview. Hannah Storm on how journalists are becoming propaganda. Independent press regulator IPSO was launched - Hacked Off was hacked off about it.

Bradlee

October

Legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee died, aged 93. Ebola coverage - there was the good, the bad and the ugly. Among the good was much-praised single issue site Ebola Deeply. Among the ugly were fake news sites spreading ebola panic. Is Emergent the future of news? We considered how Edward Snowden changed journalism. Was Krishnan Guru-Murthy's interview with Richard Ayoade the greatest ever? Time travel was offered with the New York Times's TimesMachine archive service.

Getreading

November

Many saw the end of times with the news that Trinity Mirror was closing of seven regional print titles, including The Reading Post, and replacing them with a single website (GetReading). But Tien Tzuo said newspapers are not dying (at least, not some of them). The Newspaper Society and the Newspaper Publishers' Association merged to form the News Media Association. The British Newspaper Archive reached 9 million pages online. Print newspapers became available once more to British Library users, after a year's absence. Professor Aled Jones lectured at the BL on newspaper reading rooms and civic engagement.

Syrian

December

The 'Syrian Hero Boy' video (after being seen by millions) was revealed to be a sham. A new national newspaper was launched, the pro-independence Scottish title The National. Emily Bell's lecture 'Silicon Valley and journalism: make up or break up?' led to much thinking about the future of news. Andrew Norfolk was named journalist of the year at the British Journalism Awards for his investigations into child abuse for The Times. The archive of The Independent is to be digitised. A Wikipedia for news? Google News withdrew its service from Spain after a law was passed saying it had to pay royalties on use of news snippets. Now Spanish newspapers are complaining of loss of traffic. There was an Early Day Motion in the UK parliament against the closure of local newspapers. Alan Rusbridger announced he was standing down as Guardian editor-in-chief. Did Al-Jazeera's hackathon uncover the future of news? And finally, why it is bad news to publish only good news.

This blog is one year old today, by the way. See you next year.

26 September 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 35

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Welcome to the latest edition of the St Pancras Intelligencer, our weekly round-up of news about news - stories about news production, publications, apps, digitised resources, events and what is happening with the newspaper collection (and other news collections) at the British Library.

Pizzaexpress

Restaurant review: My first reaction was ‘wow’: The most heartening news story of the week has been the unpretentious review by student Holly Aston of her local Pizza Express for the Peterborough Telegraph. It rapidly went viral, not because people were laughing at it but because they recognised its charm. She has now been offered work experience by the Daily Mirror.

News from the community: The Newsroom blog looks at hyperlocal news websites, seeing parallels in their short history with the history of early newspapers, and announces plans for archiving them by the British Library.

Journalists are becoming propaganda – and we must do more to protect them: In the wake of British photojournalist John Cantlie appearing in an Islamic State video and the attacks on BBC staff in Russia, Hannah Storm considers the current dangers faced by journalists worldwide.

Comic, Curious and Quirky: The British Library has just published Comic, Curious and Quirky News Stories from Centuries Past, by Rona Levin, a collection of bizarre and humorous stories taken from British newspapers from the 1700s to the 1900s.

Tool called Dataminr hunts for news in the din of Twitter: The New York Times looks at Dataminr, which analyses Twitter postings for patterns that indicate breaking news stories.

Trove Traces: Trove Traces brings together some of the thousands of webpages that include links to articles in the National Library of Australia's Trove database (including its newspaper archive). A marvellous way of showing how a digital resource gives birth to so much scholarship and sharing of information.

News for the Minecraft generation: American media company Gannett, in partnership with the Des Moines Register, is experimenting with turning news stories into virtual reality experiences, using the Oculus Rift headset. First up is a tour of an Iowa farm rather than anything too contentiously dramatic or controversial.

Why do the best jobs go to men?: Eleanor Mills at British Journalism Review calls for greater opportunities to be given to women in newspapers (the last woman to edit a daily broadsheet was Rosie Boycott at The Independent from January to April 1998).

How wearables are already delivering the news: Journalism.co.uk on how media outlets are experimenting with wearable devies such as Samsung Gear S, Google Glass and smart watches.

Can Longform.org become a Netflix for journalism?: Chris Dannen at Fast Labs looks at the increasingly popular Longform website and app which curates non-fiction articles from across the Web.

Trinity Mirror agrees to pay compensation to ten people over phone-hacking at national titles: It never was going to be just the News of the World...

'F*** it, I quit': Charlo Greene, a reporter for Anchorage's KTVA, dramatically quit live on air (to the delight of the online world) following an item on marijuana saying that she was leaving to focus on marijuana legalisation in Alaska. She explains why to Huffington Post (which has the clip).

24 September 2014

News from the community

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Over the past few years a quiet revolution has been taking place in the production of news in the UK. The people are making the news for themselves. Inspired by blogging platforms, forums, Facebook and other social media, and the rise in mobile devices, but all the more by an urge to report on local issues that matter to them, people have been producing news-based online services - occasionally in print form as well - that operate on a local level. They have been given the name hyperlocal media, and there are hundreds of them out there. Many are reading them, some academics are studying them, and here at the British Library we want to archive them.

Porttalbotmagnet

Port Talbot Magnet, http://www.lnpt.org

The term 'hyperlocal' comes from the USA and in general means local news and information sources online which are not produced by traditional media owners, but are instead created by communities themselves. As a phenomenon in the UK it seems to date back to 2007, though with some roots stretching back further than that. Just how many hyperlocal sites are out there in the UK no one knows. In 2012 the Openly Local site attempted to list them all and found 700 of them, but the data has not been updated for some while now, and without a system of registration it is hard to see how it would be possible ever to document them all with any certainty.

Part of the challenge lies in definition - some of the sites cover villages or corners of one town, others stretch over a whole city. Some are news sites, some information or arts and culture sites. Some are simply message forums; others look just like online newspapers from traditional media owners. Here is a selection of titles to demonstrate the range:

There has been growing interest from policy makers and academics in the hyperlocal phenomenon. in 2012 NESTA ( National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) produced a report, Here and Now: UK hyperlocal media today which looked at the growth of the media, their sustainability, funding and visibility. Two AHRC-funded projects at Cardiff, Birmingham and Westminster universities have been studying hyperlocal media and combined this year to produce  a report: The State of Hyperlocal Community News in the UK.

The report finds that three-quarters of hyperlocal producers have been producing news for over three years and nearly a third for more than five years. Intriguingly, almost half of those surveyed had some sort of journalistic training or media experience, much higher than one might have suspected.

The connection with habitual news media practice is shown by three-quarters of respondents having covered local campaigns instigated by others, with well over a third have instigated their own. Most of those behind such sites work part-time on them: 57% work up to 10 hours per week, 26% work between 11 and 30 hours per week. The impact generated by all this effort is relatively low, as one would expect for local sites: a small group of high-performing community news sites reach audiences between 10,000 and 100,000 unique visits per month but most reach quite modest audiences of around 5,000 per month.

Community news producers tend do it for love and dedication to the cause. Most fund the running costs from their own pockets, but around one in four raise enough money to cover their costs, with advertising being the dominant form of income generation. 12% make less than £100 a month; 13% generate more than £500 per month. Yet nine out of ten believe they can sustain, or increase, current levels of output for the coming year, and eight out of then have ambitions to expand their sites. Hyperlocals may eventually fall in number as some lose the drive to continue what they have started up, but a core looks like to become a fixed part of the news media landscape.

Peckham

The Peckham Peculiar, http://peckhampeculiar.tumblr.com

Hyperlocalism is turning anyone who wants to be into a journalist or a media producer. Fancy having a go for yourself? Cardiff University's Centre for Community Journalism has produced a handy guide: Community Engagement and Hyperlocal News: a practical guide. This provides instruction on how to identify, listen to and engage with the community you wish to serve, how to make best use of social media, what online tools can help you, how to produce engaging content, how to cover local causes and campaigns, how to manage your time most effectively (a key issue mentioned by practitioners is how they never seem to have enough time achieve what they want to achieve) and how to monitor your impact.

We are witnessing a grassroots news revolution, and it is instructive to look at the parallels with the early history of newspaper production in this country. Newspapers and newsbooks arose in Britain from the early seventeenth century. Building on what had previously been private news services or occasional leaflets and broadsides, newspapers grew rapidly to serve an audience thirst for current information and the exercise of opinion. The civil war encouraged this demand to know, and though news production was constrained for a time by censorship and licensing restrictions, and then taxation, titles spread across the country until by the mid-eighteenth century few corners of the country were without a newspaper of some kind. Newspapers became a signifier of local identity. Their variousness demonstrated that news changes according to the needs of its consumers. What is news to someone in one area is not news to another. News is made by its communities. This is what the hyperlocal revolution has rediscovered.

Cybermoor

Alston Moor, http://www.cybermoor.org

Another parallel with early newspapers needs to halted. Thousands of newspaper issues produced in Britain from the 17th to the mid-19th century have been lost because there was no system in place for collecting them and no library to hold them. It is only thanks to collectors such as George Thomason and Charles Burney that we have the early British newspaper collection that we do, now part of the British Library's collection (since 1869 a copy of every newspaper published in Britain and Ireland has been acquired under legal deposit, originally by the British Museum and now by the British Library).

We do not intend to lose this new flowering of news production in the same way. In April 2013 non-print legal deposit legislation was passed which has enabled the Library to capture electronic publications on top of the print publications traditionally collected under legal deposit. We began by crawling the entire .uk domain (some 3.5 million websites); subsequent crawls will cover all websites published in the United Kingdom, so far as we are able to identify them. Eventually all British hyperlocal sites will be included, but how to find them thereafter, and what about those who currently may be slipping through the net?

So it is that we have a tool which enables curators to identify particular sites for retention, and to tag these so that they can be gathered into collections. In September we identified an initial 500 news websites - mostly newspaper sites - which we would archive on a regular and frequent basis, some weekly, some daily (the main web archiving crawl is annual). We will now be adding a further 500 or so sites for regular web archiving, most of them hyperlocal news sites, largely based on a list kindly provided by Dave Harte of Birmingham City University, one of the collaborators behind the Cardiff/Birmingham 'Media, Community and the Creative Citizen' project.

Some of these sites will be short-lived. Some will change their name, or web address. Who knows, some may merge or otherwise morph, as the community news sector matures. The important thing is that we capture what we can now. We need also to do more to acquire the print versions of hyperlocals, where these exist, only a few of which are currently being picked up through legal deposit. Then we need to keep a watchful eye on what new sites emerge, and which ones die, and review our selection on an annual basis at least. It's important to note that the Legal Deposit UK Web Archive may only be accessed onsite via Reading Room computers at the British Library and other legal deposit libraries (i.e. the national libraries of Scotland and Wales, the Bodleian, Cambridge University library and Trinity College Dublin). Interested researchers can come to the British Library's Newsroom, and any search result on the Web Archive can be filtered by the term 'news'. We haven't started archiving the hyperlocals yet, but plan to start doing so within the next few weeks.

Last week the Royal College of Art hosted the Creative Citizens conference, on creative citizenship and its value to the community. There was a panel on hyperlocal news media, at which I was fortunate to speak, demonstrating the links between news media of the past and this emerging news medium, and calling for the sites to be identified, archived, and then used. We need researchers to start using this new research resource, as part of the broadening news media world of which newspapers, television and radio news now form only a part. Most of these sites are still findable online, of course, but that's unlikely always to be the case, and being able to search across them all (or at least a good many of them) will tell us a lot about what this new world of community news is telling us about our communities. It will also show how news power is changing. Anyone can be a journalist. Anyone can be a media producer. So could you.

  • The Centre for Community Journalism has resources and training events for those interested in community journalism, and a directory of hyperlocal sites
  • Openly Local is a resource for accessing local government information, with a directory of hyperlocal sites
  • Talk About Local is an organisation supporting the online connecting up of communities
  • Anyone interested in researching hyperlocal news media, or who wants to check if their hyperlocal site is included on our archiving list should please get in touch

15 August 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 31

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Welcome to the latest edition of the St Pancras Intelligencer, our weekly round-up of news about news - stories about news production, publications, apps, digitised resources, events and what is happening with the newspaper collection (and other news collections) at the British Library. 

Islamicstate

https://news.vice.com/video/the-islamic-state-full-length

The Islamic State: Medyan Dairieh scooped the world with his inside report on the Islamic State, the fruit of three weeks spent embedded with the group in Syria and Iraq. A notable coup for Vice News, the youth-oriented news service increasingly challenging the methods of the mainstream media companies. Originally released in five parts, linked here to the full forty-minute report (with some disturbing scenes, please note).

Print is down, and now out: David Carr's piece for the New York Times on how media companies are spinning off newpapers, which could be an indication of bad things for the medium, has been much discussed all week.

The persistent financial demands of Wall Street have trumped the informational needs of Main Street. For decades, investors wanted newspaper companies to become bigger and diversify, so they bought more newspapers and developed television divisions. Now print is too much of a drag on earnings, so media companies are dividing back up and print is being kicked to the curb.

See also Columbia Journalism Review's The great newspaper spin-off and Roy Greenslade's Will newsprint-only companies really hasten the demise of newspapers? On the other hand, News Corp's Robert Thomson announced ""We remain firm believers in the power of print", adding ""Print is a concentrated, intense reading experience with unique affinity in our digitally distracted age." So who really knows?

UK press coverage of the death of Robin Williams: The issue of tabloid and social media coverage of the suicide of Robin Williams is sensitively handled by David Banks at his Media Law blog.

Turning a profit in the Netherlands: How a Dutch hyperlocal network has grown: Joseph Lichterman at Nieman Journalism Lab on the success of Dutch hyperlocal website network Dichtbij.

The relentless trauma of covering Gaza: Jared Malsin at Columbia Journalism Reviews on how even seasoned war correspondents are feeling the impacts of witnessing continual civilian casualties.

Ebola

All quiet on the ebola front in Lincolnshire: Quite possibly the news story of the year, brought to the grateful residents of the county by the Lincolnshire Echo and noted by the Media Blog - though China's news agency Xinhua's confident assurance that "There is no evidence that coffee and onions cure Ebola" surely runs it very close.

6 things publishers need to know about UK media consumption, from Ofcom's latest report: They include the bald asertion that newspapers would not be missed by most of us: "just two percent of respondents saying a newspaper would be form of media they would miss the most", notes The Media Briefing.

Behind the BBC's interactive 'The rise of the Islamic State: Journalism.co.uk reports on the production of the BBC's innovative interactive video piece 'The rise of the Islamic State'.

160,000 newspaper pages added from 1787-1954: They continue to go full steam ahead at the British Newspaper Archive, adding 160,000 pages in July, including the London Evening Standard (for some years in the 1860s, please note), Glasgow’s Daily Record and the Surrey Comet.

African American Newspapers, 1827-1998: A great new digital service just introduced into the British Library's Newsroom is this Readex World Newspaper Archive collection of around 270 US newspapers documenting the African American experience over a century and a half.

Graphic content: How media differ on use of Gaza images: BBC Monitoring shows how news organisations in different countries have approached the use of images about Gaza.

25 July 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 28

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Welcome to the latest edition of the St Pancras Intelligencer, our weekly round-up of news about news - stories about news production, publications, apps, digitised resources, events and what is happening with the newspaper collection (and other news collections) at the British Library.

Bukmap

 

Map showing evidence of Buk surface-to-air missile position in Donetsk region of Ukraine, with geo-located links, created by Storyful

How social sleuthing uncovered evidence of surface-to-air missile systems in eastern Ukraine: News about news has been dominated this week by the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine. This powerful blog post from the NewsCorp-owned verification service Storyful shows how effective it has been at analysing information from social networks, YouTube and other sources to get at the truth behind the claims and counter-claims.

There have been a number of other pieces this week which focus on the verification of information, particularly images and videos, with a focus on Ukraine. The title of Julie Posetti's piece for PBS MediashiftWhen Good People Share Bad Things: The Basics of Social Media Verification picks up on the worry people have about sharing false information and explains the verifcation process, which involves the source of a piece of content, and the content itself. Jihii Jolly at Columbia Journalism Review offers help  on How to check if that viral video is true, steessing that the rise in user-generated contents makes it imperative for journalists to question before using. Kevin Loker at American Press Institute gives us How to find out if a photo your friend posted online is fake, and at Gigaom Mathew Ingram says Want to help fact-check breaking news like the Malaysian airplane disaster? Here's how and where you can do it, providing a handy a guide to verification communities and tools.

Graphic content: when photographs of carnage are too upsetting to publish: Roger Tooth, The Guardian's Head of Photography, explains the decision-making process behind selection or otherwise of news images from stories such as Gaza and MH17. (Warning: graphic content).

RT “Covers” the Shooting Down of MH17: Adam Holland at The Interpreter (an online journal presented translated material from the Russian press and blogosphere) offers a scathing analysis of how RT, aka Russia Today, the state-owned TV channel, reacted to the downing of MH17.

Russia Today London correspondent resigns in protest at 'disrespect for facts' over Malaysian plane crash: Press Gazette piece on Sarah Firth who declared that RT's coverage of the air crash was the last straw. "[I]t’s the level of disrespect for the facts that really bugs me." she says. RT commented:

Sara has declared that she chooses the truth; apparently we have different definitions of truth. We believe that truth is what our reporters see on the ground, with their own eyes, and not what’s printed in the morning London newspaper. In our coverage, RT, unlike the rest of the media, did not draw conclusions before the official investigation has even begun. We show all sides of the story, even if everyone else has already decided which side is to blame.

From outrage to recrimination: How the media covered the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: Chris Boffey at The Drum looks at how the British news media reacted to the immediate news of the MH17 crash.

MH17, my error of judgment: Sky News' Colin Brazier has been roundly condemned for a live news broadcast, lunchimte July 20th, when he briefly looked through the content of the luggage of one of the victims of MH17. Here he apologies via The Guardian in a sincere and interesting piece of how a journalist faces up to horror, while live on air.

South Sudan humanitarian crisis: The poor media coverage highlights the flaws in news gathering: Perhaps the most powerful piece about news production this week has come from Ian Burrell at The Independent, looking at how the absence of media coverage in South Sudan has had a tragic impact on people's lives:

The tragedy of South Sudan highlights a number of basic flaws in modern news. Despite the breadth of online information, the major news providers still play an essential role in bringing humanitarian stories to the public’s attention. It is the misfortune of the starving and homeless in South Sudan that their agony coincides with the appalling turmoil in Syria, Gaza and Ukraine.

Minus proper archives, news outlets risk losing years of backstories forever: Another essential read, this time from Columbia Journalism Review, looking at the possibility and dangers of losing news archives in the digital area.

The 'Fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood’s extraordinary career: The career of The Sun and The News of the World's notorious entrapment specialist, Mazeer Mahmood - the 'fake Sheikh' - may have come to an end after the collapse of the trial of singer Tulisa Contostavlos. Ian Burrell tells his story.

High value, low income: report reveals trends in hyperlocal publishing: A handy summary from Journalism.co.uk of the key points from the recent academic report The State of Hyperlocal Community News in the UK.

Readers, viewers, browsers: it's time to count them all and unify the ratings: Peter Preston at The Observer calls for the unification of audience research.

Ashley Highfield - interview: InPublishing interviews Ashley Highfield, CEO of regional newspaper publisher Johnson Press, on the digital revolution he is bringing about.

I don’t want cannabilisation of what is our biggest source of revenue (print). The great thing about the regional press is it’s not like the Guardian where people stop buying print and consume online. Actually we have pretty much created a new audience online who never bought us in print.

Newspapers begin to challenge broadcasters in video storytelling: Douglas Grant at World News Publishing Focus explains how newspapers are marking their mark with online video.

Reddit Live is now official, lets anyone create their own breaking news live blog: This could could be a major step in the growth of alternative news publishing. The hugely popular social networking and news service Reddit has launched Reddit Live, which lets anyone create their own breaking news service (including tweets, videos etc).

The Sun says farewell to Wapping with special souvenir staff issue: The staff of The Sun left Wapping on 18 July, as they set up home in London Bridge. Roy Greenslade looks at the souvenir issue produced for staff to mark the momentous occasion.

18 July 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 27

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Welcome to the latest edition of the St Pancras Intelligencer, our weekly round-up of news about news - stories about news production, publications, apps, digitised resources, events and what is happening with the newspaper collection (and other news collections) at the British Library. 

Hyperlocalmap

http://hyperlocal.uk

Hyperlocal map: Talk About Local has produced a 'heat map' of the hyperlocal sites around the UK, based on data from the Openly Local database. Delve in and see how the local news made locally revolution has spread.

Report around the clock: Fascinating piece by Joseph Lichterman at Nieman Journalism Lab on how news organisations use time zones to their advantage to operate a 24/7 service, including Bild, The Guardian and Wall Street Journal.

Hey, Publishers: Stop fooling us, and yourselves: David Boardman says too many newspaper companies says too many newspapers executives (in the US) are deluded about the financial future and maybe ought to stop printing newspapers altogether.

Robots are invading the news business, and it’s great for journalists: So here's a piece of journalism for you:

Alcoa Inc. (AA) on Tuesday reported a second-quarter profit of $138 million, reversing a year-ago loss, and the results beat analysts' expectation. The company reported strong results in its engineered-products business, which makes parts for industrial customers, while looking to cut costs in its aluminum-smelting segment.

It was produced by a robot (a piece of software anywhere) which is generating business news stories for AP. Kevin Roose at New York magazine reckons this bright new future will give human journalists more time to concentrate on less humdrum stories.

The Daily Mail's 'historic 1914 edition' is not quite as billed...: The Daily Mail produced a First World War facsimile issue. Roy Greenslade takes in to task for not being up front about the fact that the 'paper' has been set like a modern newspaper.

Latest ABCs show newspaper market decline running at 8% a year: More from Greenslade, reporting on the latest ABC figures for newspapers, which show a general market decline, though some times (The Times, The Guardian) and beginning to buck the trend.

I100

About i100: First there was The Independent, then there was i, now we have i100, a Buzzfeed-style news site launched this week by ESI Media with a list of numbered stories (called The List), the top one being the most popular (there's a voting system with each story having an 'upvote' button). The top 5 for today are all on the shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine.

BBC News to cut a further 415 jobs: BBC News currently employs 8,400 people. 415 jobs are to be cut as part of cost-saving measures. 195 new jobs will be created. Net loss = 220.

The tale of the women who turned vigilante: the BBC News Magazine has been running a series of entertaining pieces by Jeremy Clay on bizarre stories culled from nineteenth-century newspapers. Entitled 'Victorian Strangeness', this example from the series retells an incident from 1878, the moral of which is don't mess with the women of the Forest of Dean.

British blogger Brown Moses launches new site to train others in crowdsourced reporting: Self-taught investigative journalist Brown Moses (aka Elliott Higgins) is looking to pass on his skills to others through a new site called Bellingcat. The admiring Mathew Ingram at Gigaom tells the story.

If newspapers are dying, no one's told the Farnham Herald: Peter Preston agrees with local newspaper publisher Sir Ray Tindle's optimism that print's not dead, yet.

Journalism that matters: Jon Slattery at InPublishing writes in praises of the many examples of serious journalism practised in the UK that make a real difference to the communities that they serve.

The reading experience: This blog writes admiringly of the excellent Reading Experience Database, which reproduces written testimony of reading 1450-1945, including newspapers, and asks what sort of a newspaper history we have if it doesn't consider the readers.

11 July 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 26

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Welcome to the latest edition of the St Pancras Intelligencer, our weekly round-up of news about news. It may be summer holiday time, but there is so much going on - George Clooney taking on Mail Online (and winning), the fallout from the phone hacking trial, BBC TV news at 60 (supposedly), the rise of hyperlocal news, and lots of digitised newspapers being added online.

Clooney

Via USA Today

Exclusive: Clooney responds to 'Daily Mail' report: This week's news lesson is that there are some things in this world that wield greater power than Mail Online, and one of those is George Clooney. The American actor reacted furiously to a story about his future mother-in-law via USA Today with a strong critique of its newsgathering ethos. An apology from Mail Online followed swiftly after, and the story was removed  from its website (it still exists, in reduced form, in the separately edited print version).

'Yes journalists have broken the law, and we should be pleased and proud that they did': An impassioned post-Coulson piece from Mick Hume for Press Gazette, on how journalists have broken the law or broken rules in the past to uncover the truth, from John Wilkes in the 18th century, to WT Stead in the 19th, to the Sunday Times investigative team in the 20th.

Of course journalists are "not above the law". But neither should they be subject to special prosecution and persecution, as has happened in the UK over the past three years with the arrest of more than 60 tabloid journalists. Strangely, few of those high-minded media types at the BBC or Channel 4 news now protesting about the jailing of journalists in Egypt have offered a peep of protest about the criminalisation of tabloid journalism in Britain – and not because anybody has taped over their mouths.

BBC TV News reaches 60-year milestone: BBC News celebrates the sixtienth anniversary of its first TV news bulletin  on 5 July 1954., with Richard Baker reading the headlines (he wouldn't be seen on screen for another three years). Strictly speaking, BBC TV news started in January 1948 with Television Newsreel, unmentioned in this anniversary piece, which is otherwise a great summary of how its news has developed into the age of 24-hour channels and the Internet.

Sun on Sunday editor Victoria Newton on Rebekah, Rupert, paywalls and filling the gap left by the News of the World: A great interview in Press Gazette with Victoria Newton, editor of Sun of Sunday, on thriving in a changing world:

Obviously in terms of print it’s a declining market ... A huge chunk of readers went out of the market with the News of the World. About 800,000 readers just went, which is devastating because you find it very hard to get them back – especially in the digital world.

Newspaper industry to review audience count metrics: Interesting. The Drum reports that Newsworks, the marketing body for UK national newspapers is to conduct a review of audience measurement metrics for the industry to reflect the changing ways in which we now read the papers, from print and laptops to tablets and mobile. 

The New Yorker alters its online strategy: and while it does so, the magazine will be making making all the articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months before introducing a paywall for online subscribers. The offer starts 21 July.

Punch Historical Archive goes online: The Punch Historical Archive has gone online, with 7,900 issues (200,000 pages) from all volumes of the satirical magazine published between 1841–1992 now available via the Gale NewsVault to subscribing institutions.

Whitstabletimes

The Whitstable Times, 23 December 1950, Image © Local World Limited

240,000 extra newspaper pages from 1752-1954: Keen-eyed newspaper archive watchers will have noticed that the number of pages being added to the British Newspaper Archive is double or more per month what it used to be. 240,000 extra pages were added in June for the period 1752-1954, including the Lichfield Mercury, Selkirk’s Southern Reporter, the Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald and the Illustrated Times.

Diving into newspaper archives: Chronicling America: We're big on digitised newspaper archives this week, which is great. Here's a really useful Europeana Newspapers interview with Deborah Thomas from the Library of Congress' online newspaper archive Chronicling America.

Newspapers in Europe and the Digital Agenda for Europe: Yet more on digitised newspapers: the British Library is hosting a Europeana Newspapers workshop 29-30 September, which will be in  two parts: What is the value of newspapers? and Barriers to improving access to digitised newspapers.

The state of hyperlocal community news in the UK: Two AHRC-funded projects at the universities of Cardiff, Birmingham City and Westminster have combined to produce this clear, useful and timely report into the state of hyperlocal news (including asking such pertinent questions as How local is hyperlocal?).

Press freedom is being frustrated as privacy becomes new libel: Thought-provoking piece in The Standard from Roy Greenslade on the threats to journalism he sees in the European Court of Justice's 'right to be forgotten' ruling and the UK's Data Protection Act:

Privacy has become the new libel, and the loser in the long run will be the people who misguidedly think of “the media” as some kind of homogeneous evil institution. In fact, it is there for them, not against them.

A $52 million loss, but a good year for The Guardian: Columbia Journalism Review looks admiringly at how The Guardian's ownership by the Scott Trust has enabled it to paper to experiment and expand digitally across the globe. On the same theme, Gideon Spanier at The Independent interviews Andrew Millar, chief executive of the Guardian Media Group in a post strikingly titled The death of the newspaper has been exaggerated (which is not the same thing as the print newspaper, please note). Having an £843M investment fund certainly helps.

Sir Ray Tindle 'totally convinced' of almost complete return to 'full viability' for local press: More from the newspaper optimism corner. Ray Tindle of publishing group Tindle Newspapers sees the turning of the corner for the local press.

Why you can no longer expect that the news will find you: Tom Krazit at Gigaom warns us on how corporations such as Facebook and Google control the flow of news they think we want to see. Talking of which, All Tech Considered looks at searching for news stories on the World Cup and discovers that in Google Newsroom, Brazil defeat is not a headline.

Beacon Reader's crowdfunding platform now lets supporters fund topics as well as journalists: There are crowdfunded journalism startups that let you fund specific journalists; now how about funding individual topics you'd like to see covered? Mathew Ingram at Gigaom looks at one example, Beacon Reader.

Rolf Harris sentencing made Saturday a good day to bury bad news about the jailing of a national newspaper editor: How Rolf helped bury Andy, with Press Gazette asking why.