The Newsroom blog

19 December 2013

Changing places, changing news

Welcome to The Newsroom, the British Library’s new news and media blog. Its aim is to provide the news about yesterday's news, and to look to where news may be going in the future. It will inform you about aspects our collections, provides guides to their best use, and reports on activities in news production and news-related research.

The British Library has one of the world's greatest news archives. Our collection of UK, Irish and world newspapers numbers over 60 million issues, from the 17th century to the present day, and we have growing collections of television, radio and web news. In March 2014 we will be opening our News and Media Reading Room at our London site in St Pancras (for more information, see our guide to our Newspaper Library moves). The new reading room will bring together print, television radio and web news resources in an exciting new media research environment, one that reflects the ways in which news production itself is changing.


James Harding

There will be various events to help mark the change in our news service from the Newspaper Library at Colindale (now closed) to St Pancras. Among these are lectures we are organising in the name of W.T. Stead, the transformative 19th-century journalist whose multi-faceted involvement in news production and the media of his time was celebrated at W.T. Stead: Newspaper Revolutionary, a conference held at the British Library in 2012.

The first W.T. Stead Lecture will be given by James Harding, director of BBC News & Current Affairs, on 13 January 2014. Harding’s career is indicative of the great changes taking place in the news and media industries. He has recently moved from being editor of a leading national newspaper, The Times, to heading the BBC’s news service. This looks like part of a growing trend. BBC Director General Mark Thompson left the corporation to head the New York Times, and the BBC’s former head of Future Media & Technology, Ashley Highfield, is now CEO of the Johnston Press, which publishes many local newspapers in the UK. The skills in the one medium are becoming essential for understanding the other media.

Harding’s lecture will reflect upon the place of news in a changing media landscape. We now have more ways than ever before to access the news, but how does this affect the way that news is produced, communicated and consumed? Is news itself changing, or is it just how we find it and use it that is changing? What is happening to the role of journalism in a multimedia, multiplatform environment? These questions are important not only for understanding news today, but for building the news archive of tomorrow.

Further information on James Harding’s lecture, with details on how to book, can be found on our What’s On pages.


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