THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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8 posts categorized "Resources"

03 March 2017

Rand Daily Mail

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The latest addition to the electronic newspaper resources available to British Library readers is one that we're particularly pleased to have secured, the Rand Daily Mail. Published from 1902 to 1985, the South African daily newspaper was renowned for its anti-Apartheid stance, with notable coverage of the Sharpeville massacre, the Soweto uprising and the death of Steve Biko. Closed down in controversial circumstances in 1985, the entire newspaper is being digitised and made available by research materials service Readex. Happily the British Library is making the entire archive available for remote access to anyone with a Reader's Pass.

Randdaily

The Rand Daily Mail's renowned African Affairs Reporter, Benjamin Pogrund, wrote recently on the Readex blog about the significance of the newspaper and its archive:

The Rand Daily Mail was ahead of its time in reporting and exposing apartheid evils and in opposing oppressive government. This is why it was shut down. 

The Mail was always a contradictory newspaper: although owned by mining interests from its start in 1902, it was known for siding with the underdog – which, for the first two-thirds of its existence, meant the white underdog. 

That changed in 1957 when Laurence Gandar—a quiet, reserved man—became editor. Little was expected from him except professional journalism. But he proved to have radical ideas and compassion, and he had an inner core of steel. Gandar dissected apartheid with deep and brilliant writing that electrified the country. 

Gandar took his pioneering into the news columns, assembling a staff of journalists whose political views stretched from left to right but who shared a commitment to fair and honest reporting, investigation and robust comment. The newspaper became the pacesetter in illuminating dark corners of South Africa and gave hope to blacks by pointing to a new direction for the country. It transformed itself, the rest of the Press and deeply influenced the political scene.  

The board of (white) directors soon turned against Gandar and in time got rid of him. His successor, Raymond Louw, made his own singular contribution: he invested the Mail with a tough news sense while retaining its policy strength. 

 Integral to this was that the Mail turned the newspaper adage, “When in doubt, leave out,” on its head. Instead, as the authoritarian government’s restrictions grew on free publication, the newspaper sought to get as much into the open as possible. It wasn't always consistent; but right up to the end, even when tight laws and controls were throttling the Press, the Mail ensured that no-one would ever be able to say that they had not known about the ravages of Afrikaner Nationalist rule.  

The Mail was admired by most South Africans of all colors and was honored by its international peers. The reason for respect was why it was loathed by many, but by no means all, within the white community, and they finally prevailed in getting the commercial owners to close it in 1985.  

It's exciting to know that with digitization the Rand Daily Mail's treasure store of information about crucial years in the old South Africa will now be more widely available.

Pressures which led to the newspaper's board seeking a change of policy to reach out to more to a prosperous white audience ultimately proved damaging to sales and led to the newspaper's closure. The current owners, Times Media Group, decided in 2014 to resurrect the newspaper as an online archive and, through Readex, sought out the best materials, including the incomplete run of the title held by the British Library. 

We are delighted that not only is the electronic archive now available in our Reading Rooms, but is available to British Library Reader pass holders via our Remote Resources service. It therefore joins the small but significant number of electronic newspaper resources to which we subscribe that we can offer to Library users wherever they might be, so long as they have Reader's Pass (information on obtaining such a Pass is here). Other titles available in this way include:

  • African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 - provides online access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience. This unique collection features papers from more than 35 states - including many rare and historically significant 19th century titles.
  • Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans 1639-1800 - contains virtually every book, pamphlet and broadside published in America during the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Early American Newspapers, Series I - reproductions of hundreds of historic newspapers, providing more than one million pages as fully text-searchable facsimile images. 
  • Latin American Newspapers Series 1, 1805-1922 - part of Readex's World Newspaper Archive, this database provides access to more than 35 fully searchable Latin American newspapers including key titles from Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Peru.
  • World Newspaper Archive: African Newspapers, 1800-1922 - part of Readex's World Newspaper Archive. African Newspapers includes over 30 fully searchable African newspapers including key publications from Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

We therefore have a particular strong remote access offering for researchers of African news. The Rand Daily Mail online archive is not complete as yet - currently it runs 1937-1985, but eventually it will contain the full run of 1902-1985.

19 May 2016

Digital archives of British national newspapers

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Did you know that the historic back runs of most of the British national newspapers that are published today have been digitised by online publishers and that these are all available for free in British Library Reading Rooms? With the recent addition of the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph,  Independent and Independent on Sunday to the digital archives you can search at the British Library, it’s a good opportunity to review what’s available for all current British nationals.

  Times

The Times was the first national newspaper to digitise its historic back run and The Times Digital Archive has been available in British Library Reading Rooms since 2003. This is a vast archive which allows users to search every page of the newspaper from its first issue in 1785 (when it was known as the Daily Universal Register) up to 2010.

The archive offers access to a 225 year back run of The Times and contains, in total, over 70,000 issues which include over 1.6 million pages or more than 11.8 million articles. The entire file is searchable by keyword and by date and the content can be viewed at page or article level. In addition there is an advanced search facility which enables a search to be focussed on particular parts of the newspaper  such as ‘News’ or ‘Reviews’ or ‘Politics’.

In the years since 2003, when The Times Digital Archive first became available, back runs of most of the other currently published British national newspapers have been digitised and these are all available in British Library Reading Rooms. The titles are:

  • Daily Express: 1900 to date, and Sunday Express: 2000 to date
  • Daily Mail: 1896-2004
  • Daily Mirror: 1903 to date
  • Daily Star/ Star on Sunday: 2000 to date
  • Daily Telegraph: 1855-2000 and Sunday Telegraph: 1961-2000
  • Financial Times: 1888-2010
  • Guardian: 1824 -2003
  • Independent: 1986-2012, and Independent on Sunday: 1990-2012
  • Observer: 1791-2003
  • Scotsman: 1870-1950
  • The Times: 1785-2010, and Sunday Times 1822-2006

Links to all of these can be via our Electronic Resources page (select Newspapers as a subject, then refine your search by Full Text). Please note that electronic access only works in British Library Reading Rooms and on our terminals.

Although the historic back runs of most of the British national newspapers that are published today have been digitised and made available online, not every current British national is available in this way. The following titles do not yet have digital archives:

  • Daily Record
  • i
  • Morning Star
  • People
  • The Sun

Telegraph

Sample search on the Telegraph Historical Archive

The most recent additions to the list of digitised archives of British national newspapers are The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, Independent and Independent on Sunday. These titles have only been available on our Reading Rooms since earlier this year.

The Telegraph Historical Archive contains over 1 million facsimile pages of The Daily Telegraph from the first issue published in 1855 to the year 2000 and the Sunday Telegraph from its inception in 1961 up to 2012.

Independent

The Independent Digital Archive contains approximately 750,000 facsimile pages and includes every issue of The Independent from 1986 to 2012 and every issue of The Independent on Sunday from its inception in 1990 up to 2012.

In some cases it is possible to carry out a combined search of more than one historic newspaper archive which can increase the efficiency of the search process and deliver a wider range of results from different types of newspaper.  The historic archives of The Times, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Financial Times, Independent and Independent on Sunday are all hosted by the same on-line publisher (Gale Cengage) and these archives can be searched individually or in a combination of two or more titles. Similarly, the historic archives of the Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Sunday Express and Star on Sunday are hosted by another on-line publisher (UKpressonline), and the archives of The Guardian and The Scotsman (along with the Irish Times) are hosted by ProQuest Historical Newspapers. It is possible to combine a search of two or more newspapers within these groups of titles as well.

Digital newspaper archives have transformed the use of historic newspapers in research. Whereas in the past it might have taken days, weeks or even months to search through large bound volumes of newspapers or to trawl through endless reels of microfilm to find all the information needed for a particular research topic, in a digital archive the information is much more easily accessible and can often be found in almost no time at all.

Stephen Lester, Newspaper Curator

01 April 2015

Newspapers remotely

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Afro_american

African-American newspapers

Users of the British Library's newspaper collections have three main choices: if they have a Reader's Pass, they can come to the Newsroom at our St Pancras site, or use the reading room at our Yorkshire site in Boston Spa; or they can subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive, the service that provides access to our digitised British and Irish newspapers - 400 titles, and now over 10 million pages. We also have historic newspapers available via Gale Digital Collections. All electronic newpspaers resources to which we contribute or to which we subscribe are freely available to anyone with a Reader's Pass who comes to either our St Pancras or Boston Spa sites.

It is possible, however, to access some newspaper collections remotely i.e. wherever you might be sitting, and without payment. A small number of newspaper collections that we have licensed from third parties (so not newspapers from our physical collections that have been digitised) are available via the British Library's Remote Eresources service. This isn't so well known about, and is more than worth highlighting. It's a service available to anyone with a Reader's Pass, and all you need to do is enter your username and password, agree to the conditions of use, and you're in.

Africanamerican

The newspapers all come via Readex, who provide a wide range of online research resources to academic libraries. Their newspaper and news-related offerings that we can provide access to remotely are:

  • African American Newspapers, 1827-1998 - provides online access to approximately 270 U.S. newspapers chronicling a century and a half of the African American experience. This unique collection features papers from more than 35 states - including many rare and historically significant 19th century titles.
  • Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans 1639-1800 - contains virtually every book, pamphlet and broadside published in America during the 17th and 18th centuries.
  • Early American Newspapers, Series I - reproductions of hundreds of historic newspapers, providing more than one million pages as fully text-searchable facsimile images. 
  • Latin American Newspapers Series 1, 1805-1922 - part of Readex's World Newspaper Archive, this database provides access to more than 35 fully searchable Latin American newspapers including key titles from Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Peru.
  • World Newspaper Archive: African Newspapers, 1800-1922 - part of Readex's World Newspaper Archive. African Newspapers includes over 30 fully searchable African newspapers including key publications from Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

We have other news-related resources available via Remote Eresources:

  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Daily Reports 1974-1996 - US government operation which translates the text of daily broadcasts, government statements, and select news stories from non-English sources. Covers: Middle East & North Africa, 1974-1987; Near East & South Asia, 1987-1996; South Asia, 1980-1987; Sub-Saharan Africa, 1974-1996; China, 1974-1996; Asia & the Pacific, 1974-1987; Eastern Europe, 1974-1996; Soviet Union, 1974-1996.
  • US Congressional Serial Set - reports, documents and journals of the US Senate and House of Representatives in full text, 1817-1994. 

For more on our Remote Eresources, and what you can and cannot do with them, see our FAQs page.

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).

22 August 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 32

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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. 

Jamesfoley

James Foley, via http://www.globalpost.com

Here's some of James Foley's finest reporting for GlobalPost: American journalist James Foley was murdered in Syria in an act that has revolted the world. The American online news site for which he did most of his work, GlobalPost, has published this tribute along with examples of some of his work.

View of #Ferguson Thrust Michael Brown Shooting to National Attention: David Carr at the New York Times looks at how the story of the shooting of Michael Brown spread through Twitter to national consciousness.

BBC’s long struggle to present the facts without fear or favour: An excellent, thought-provoking historical overview of the BBC's striving to remain independent and impartial as a news provider, part of a nine-part series by Charlotte Higgins, 'The BBC Report', for The Guardian.

In depth: The 64 UK journalists arrested and/or charged following the News of the World hacking scandal: An astonishing line-up provided by Press Gazette.

Last call: Clay Shirky writes the obituary of the printed newspaper, and what it means for journalism, for Medium.

Contrary to the contrived ignorance of media reporters, the future of the daily newspaper is one of the few certainties in the current landscape: Most of them are going away, in this decade. (If you work at a paper and you don’t know what’s happened to your own circulation or revenue in the last few years, now might be a good time to ask.) We’re late enough in the process that we can even predict the likely circumstance of its demise.

Bulgarians and Romanians in the British National Press: The Migration Observatory has produced a report on how British newspaper reported Bulgarians and Romanians leading up to the lifting of temporary restrictions on the right to work in the UK in January 2014.

Over 4,000 BuzzFeed posts have completely disappears: Gawker reports with alarm that BuzzFeed has deleted many post from its site. In an interview with Slate, BuzzFeed boss Jonah Peretti explains why (they were "technically broken, not sourced to our current standards, not worth improving or saving because the content isn’t very good") and says it's because they were originally a tech company not a journalistic one, though they are a journalistic one now.

Ferguson

Snapnews

The weird new future of news: New York-based discussion site The Awl reports that NowThisNews is looking to place its fleeting news reports to the apps of others. It reproduces some alarming examples of what a 90-second news briefing from NowThis News on Snapchat, the messaging service which deletes messages once they have been read, looks like. On the same subject, the Wall Street Journal reports News and ads to debut on Snapchat

The product would let users read daily editions of publications as well as watch video clips of TV shows or movies by holding down a finger on the screen, like they do with photos and other messages on the app before disappearing.

Mathew Ingram at Gigaom reviews this trend towards publishing on apps rather than a brand's own website, arguing that News needs to go where the people are, not the other way around.

The future of mobile apps for news: More on the mobile future for news in this useful summary of the technical issues by Frederic Filloux at Monday Note.

Teenagers and the news game: The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones looks at how teenagers get their news and the challenge this presents for journalists.

Using Oculus Rift to build immersive news experiences: Wired reports on Nonny de la Peña from USC School of Cinematic Arts, who is creating immersive journalism experience using gaming platforms and virtual reality.

The Illustrated First World War: Illustrated London News Ltd has launched a handsomely-designed website featuring 1914-1918 archive material from the Illustrated London News, with other titles in its collection (such as The Graphic, The Sketch and The Sphere) in due course - all free, thanks to a £96K Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

The Guardian view of the Cliff Richard search: The controversial reporting by the BBC of a search of Cliff Richard's house is viewed by The Guardian as something that could could reopen issues about the police and the press that troubled Lord Justice Leveson.

Google removes 12 BBC News links in 'right to be forgotten: Fascinatingly this includes a 2009 item on the merits of hummus.

 

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.

17 July 2014

The reading experience

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On 18 February 1814 Lord Byron got up and read his morning newspaper, a fact that we know because he recorded the action later that day in his journal:

Got up - redde the Morning Post containing the battle of Buonaparte, the destruction of the Custom House, and a paragraph on me as long as my pedigree, and vituperative, as usual.

George Gordon Lord Byron, Leslie A. Marchand (ed.), Byron's Letters and Journals, (London, 1974), 3, p. 242, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=2113, accessed: 16 July 2014

Sure enough, in the Morning Post for that date is a column attacking the poet, just as he would have read it:

Byron

Morning Post - Friday 18 February 1814. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

The history of newspapers is usually written from the point of view of their producers, being a tale of owners, editors, writers, money and politics. What gets less attention is the history of newspapers viewed through its consumers. We are told about which classes bought which papers, we know about prices, and we know that newspapers in past centuries were read both privately and out loud to others. But of the readers and the actual experience of reading newspapers there is too little. How different sections of society have found their news, how they read it, understood, paid for it, shared it, and acted upon it, are hugely important, but many newspaper histories and reference books pay scant attention to those whose news it ultimately was (Andrew Pettegree's recent The Invention of News is a notable exception). We have circulation figures and statistics, but it would be good to see people too.

So where to find out information on how people read newspapers in the past? A terrific resource is the Open University's Reading Experience Database, from which the Lord Byron quote above comes. The Reading Experience Database (RED) is a project documenting the history of reading in Britain from 1450 to 1945 (there are allied databases tracing the history of reading in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and New Zealand). The database contains some 30,000 records containing verbtatim texts taken from published and unpublished sources, including diaries, commonplace books, memoirs, sociological surveys, criminal court and prison records. Its aim is to document the "recorded engagement with a written or printed text - beyond the mere fact of possession".

The fully-searchable database has been built up by both the project team and around 100 volunteers who have volunteered examples from their own reading and areas of interest (anyone can contribute if they wish). Each record gives the text that documents the reading experience, the date, country, time of day, place, type of experience (e.g. solitary or in company), the reader and their personal details, the type of text being read, and details of the source itself. Much of the evidence gathered relates to the reading of books, but there is also a substantial collection of testimony relating to reading newspapers.

Here, for example, is Thomas Carter, remembering his newspaper-reading and sharing habits in 1815:

Thus I became their [workmates] news-purveyor, ie. I every morning gave them an account of what I had just been reading in the yesterday's newspaper. I read this at a coffee shop, where I took an early breakfast on my way to work. These shops were but just then becoming general... The shop I selected was near the bottom of Oxford Street. It was in the direct path by which I made my way to work... The papers I generally preferred to read were the "British Press", the "Morning Chronicle", and the "Statesman". I usually contrived to run over the Parliamentary debates and the foreign news, together with the leading articles. ...My shopmates were much pleased at the extent and variety of the intelligence which I was able to give them about public affairs, and they were the more pleased because I often told them about the contents of Mr. Cobbett's "Political Register", as they were warm admirers of that clever and very intelligible writer.

Thomas Carter, Memoirs of a Working Man, (London, 1845), p. 186, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=7619, accessed: 16 July 2014

This comes from Carter's Memoirs of a Working Man (1845) and is a relatively rare example of working class testimony. Memoirs, journals and accounts in newspapers themselves were generally the preserve of the wealthier classes in the 17th to 17th centuries, so Carter's account of how he read and the re-transmitted intelligence from a range of newspaper to his work colleagues is precious. However, the RED's advanced search options allows one to refine searches by social type (servant, labourer, clergy, gentry, clerk / tradesman, professional, royalty / aristocracy), so here is a servant in an 1839 trial revealing his newspaper reading habits while giving evidence:

On Saturday morning, the 26th of January, I was reading in the newspaper of the loss of Mr. Platt's plate, in Russellsquare - I went up to my master, and pointed it out to him; and, in consequence of his directions, I went down to the pantry to bring up the spare plate, and found it was gone - I suspected the prisoner, and gave information to the police.

Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, 27 April 2009), 4 Feb 1839, Trial of William Smith (t18390204-682), http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=24962, accessed: 16 July 2014

Nineteeth-century newspapers were read not only for news of public affairs, but for social affairs and gossip. On 24 October 1808 Jane Austen wrote from Southampton to her sister Cassandra:

On the subject of matrimony, I must notice a wedding in the Salisbury paper, which has amused me very much, Dr Phillot to Lady Frances St Lawrence.

Jane Austen, Deirdre Le Faye (ed.), Jane Austen's Letters, (Oxford, 1995), p. 151, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=10383, accessed: 16 July 2014

From the previous century, here is James Boswell recalling how he was obliged to read out from the newspaper to Samuel Johnson, under the latter's strict instructions:

"The London Chronicle", which was the only newspaper he constantly took in, being brought, the office of reading it aloud was assigned to me. I was diverted by his impatience. He made me pass over so many parts of it, that my task was very easy. He would not suffer one of the petitions to the King about the Middlesex election to be read.

James Boswell, R.C. Chapman (ed.), Life of Johnson, (Oxford, 1980), p. 424, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=21084, accessed: 16 July 2014

From a later period, here is Harriet Martineau  in a letter dated 1 March 1866, while residing in the Lake District, noting comments made about Matthew Arnold in the press:

Of course you have seen the squib on him in the "Examiner" ("Mr Sampson"). I saw it in a Liverpool paper. One sees him in almost every newspaper now. "D. News" rapped his knuckles a month since... and I see the "Times" did it yesterday.

Harriet Martineau, Elisabeth Sanders Arbuckle (ed.), Harriet Martineau's Letters to Fanny Wedgwood, (Stanford, 1983), p. 266, http://www.open.ac.uk/Arts/reading/UK/record_details.php?id=9211, accessed: 16 July 2014

Here we see, as with Thomas Carter, how common it was to gain intelligence from a range of newspapers, as well as how the national titles were diffused across the country.

We gain from such accounts an idea of how newspapers were read, who read them, what information they expected to gain from them, how they analysed such information, and how they passed on such information. We see newspapers as a habit, and how they operated as part of the daily round. We see how public knowledge was communicated and how people understood their place in the life of the nation. We see the importance of newspapers as something experienced - which is crucial to understanding their function and history.

The Reading Experience Database is an excellent resource: clear, rigorous and easy to use. It is limited to actual evidence of newspaper reading. It does not include fictional accounts, which can be just as revealing of how newspapers were received. It is of course limited by what documentation is available and what its project team and host of volunteers have been able to find. It is selective evidence. Such accounts do not usually record how a newspaper was read, how it was handled, even how much time was spent in reading it. We do not see the visual relation of the reader to the newspaper. For that you need paintings or photographs. Which might be another project, at another time.

Readers

Some images of people reading newspapers, from British Library Images Online

06 June 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 21

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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.

Newspapers

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/ed-miliband-on-the-road

Ed Miliband: “It’s Important To Follow Your Own Path”: Ed Miliband's comments on his news-reading in this Buzzfeed interview became the news about news debate of the week, in all the newspapers. None were impressed:

It’s always a good idea not to read the newspapers ...  I don’t read much British news. You get a lot of advice in the newspapers about what you should do. It’s much more important to follow your own path and stick to your own path...

 Instead he prefers to get his information for the US site RealClearPolitics. The St Pancras Intelligencer would of course advise us all to read newspapers, TV news and news websites. The more and diverse news sources the better.

Benedict Cumberbatch reads the 8am news from D-Day: On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, June 6th, Benedict Cumberbatch is reading out original BBC radio news scripts of those events for the Today programme. The scripts have been taken from the British Library's collection. More on this anon.

Sensitive Words: June 4th: The twenty-fifth anniversary of the protests at Tiananmen Square has been widely covered by the world's news media, and in China not at all. The US-based China Digital Times provides an instructive list of search terms which have been blocked on the Chinese search engine Weibo. They include 'today', 'candle', 'six+four' and '占占点' (tanks crushing a protestor illustrated through Chinese letters).

How Hostwriter wants to connect journalists around the world: Journalism.co.uk reports on Hostwriter, a new platform enabling journalists to contact each other for world-wide collaboration opportunities.

A retiree digitizes 27 million old newspaper pages in his livingroom (and libraries fight to catch up): Anyone who has gone searching for newspapers online is likely to stumbled across Tom Tryniski's remarkable one-man effort, Old Fulton New York Post Cards, a collection of 27 million American newspapers digitised by this one retiree. This piece from Reason.com is actually about Brooklyn Public Library's struggle to find the funding to digitise all 115 years of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle - something that Trykiski did solo in five months. In the end they got Newspapers.com to do it for them, without payment, with the BPL being offered for free on the Library's portal but also as part of Newspaper.com's subscription package of 3,000 newspaper titles. 

Telegraph increases operating profit to £61.1m and is UK's most profitable 'quality' newspaper: Press Gazette reports that the Telegraph Media Group increased operating profit by £2.7m to £61.2m in 2013, making it "by far the most profitable of the UK's 'quality' newspaper titles", despite falling print circulation. No information has been revealed as yet about the performance of its website metered paywall, introduced in April 2013.

BBC News Division To Cut 500 Jobs: Neil Midgley at Forbes scored a major news media news scoop with his revelation that the BBC is to cut between 475 and 500 jobs from News, with a further 75 to 85 from Radio. The BBC is now indicating that this could be true.

BBC receives almost 1,200 complaints over Ukip election coverage: Talking of whom, The Guardian reports on the barrage of complaints sayig that it had been biased in favour of UKIP and/or Nigel Farage during the European and local elections. It also received 149 complaints that it was biased against UKIP.

Who's behind that tweet?: An interesting piece from Nieman Journalism Lab on how seven news organisations make use of Twitter and Facebook: ABC News, AP, CNN, NBC News, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal,

Can anonymity app Whisper become a viable news source?: How can a mobile app that lets its lets users post messages anonymously work as a news source? DigiDay asks Whisper's Editor-in-Chief Neetzan Zimmerman.

Journalists face threats to press freedom across Europe: Roy Greenslade at The Guardian lists some of the examples of threats to press freedom across Europe, from information gathered by Index on Censorship and Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso.

Punch Historical Archive 1841–1992: This month Cengage Gale Learning will be publishing the Punch Historical Archive 1841-1992, containing every issue of the hugely influential British humour magazine Punch. It will be included in the Gale News Vault collection of historical newspapers, which is free onsite to all British Library users.

Newsquest launches responsive mobile platform for each of its 140 titles across England and Wales: Regional newspapers in the UK are getting that bit more responsvie and smart with Newsquest's launch of a mobile platform for such titles as Northern Echo, Southern Daily Echo and The Argus.

Virtual Newsroom: getting journalism done in a digital age: Sandra Oshiro writes for Poynter on the challenges and opportunities for a journalist working remotely for a news organisation.

Digital archive of Isle of Wights history goes online: The Isle of Wight County Press Archive has been completed, with more than 160,000 pages from 6,000 editions now online (as a subscription service) of the Isle of Wight County Press.

 

Stopfake

A Ukrainian factchecking site is trying to spot fake photos in social media — and building audience: Lydia Tomkiw at Nieman Journalism Lab has a good story on the success of Ukrainian fact-checking site StopFake. 30% of the donations the site receives come from Russia.

How the Kremlin is killing off the last of Russia’s independent media: Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen reports for Quartz on the impending death of Russia's independent news media.

Media outlets love to use citizen journalism, but don't like to say where they got it or how: Mathew Ingram at Gigaom summarises a Tow Center report on the use of user-generated content by TV news organisations, including Al Jazeera, BBC World, CNN and France 24. It gets used, but it doesn't always get acknowledged - for various reasons.

The Art and Science of Data-Driven Journalism: Another Tow Center report, introduced by Alexander Howard, on the important trend towards data journalism, with 14 findings, recommendations and predictions, among which are:

  • Being digital first means being data-centric and mobile-friendly
  • Expect more robojournalism, but know that human relationships and storytelling still matter
  • More journalists will need to study the social sciences and statistics

Publishers: There's money in your archives: They are still going on about the New York Times' Innovation report (see previous St Pancras Intelligencers). Here DigiDay focusses on the report's complaint that insufficient advantage was being made of the newspaper's archives. "There may not be much money in reselling archived content, but at least it’s not expensive to produce", says The Economist’s Paul Rossi.

The news in India is all about the news: Handy piece from Quartz on news publishing in India.

India has 12,511 daily newspapers, 161 million TV households, some 2,000 multiplexes and 214 million internet users, according to a report by consulting firm KPMG, which estimates the size of the industry more than 1 trillion rupees ($16.9 billion) in 2014.

Who's Going to Buy The New York Times's New Opinion App?: The New York Times has lunched a $6-a-month app of its opinion columns, NYT Opinion. The Atlantic examines what's on offer.

Duchess to turn Hogwarts into school for cage-fighters: Thank you Daily Mirror for the headline of the week.