THE BRITISH LIBRARY

The Newsroom blog

8 posts from May 2014

30 May 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 20

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.    

Innovation_report

For the Times’ innovation report to stick, its journalists need to be on board: Fascination with the leaked New York Times' digital innovation report continues unabated. Emily Bell from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism argues that journalists themselves are the crucial element behind any innovation plans.

The New York Times KPI’s: In another piece on the NYT report, Frederic Filloux at Monday Note comes up with this thought-provoking quote: "In theory, the Times can get rid of print. Digital revenue far exceeds the cost of running the newsroom..."

The New York Times and innovation: are they asking the right question?: And there's more. George Brock points out that nowhere in the Innovation report does is say what journalism is, or that its authors graps that it is changing. He asks:

Is it actually possible for a big, mainstream newspaper to make the transition to being, principally, a digital platform for journalism? Not just make the transition slowly, painfully and with embarrassing mistakes but…not make it at all.

UK daily newspapers have doubled in price since 2004 and shrunk in size - no wonder sales are down: William Turvill at Press Gazette looks at the rise in cover prices for UK daily and Sunday national newspapers over the past ten years.

How Niuzly wants to put control into the hands of journalists: Journalism.co.uk reports on publishing platform Niuzly which  allows writers to sell their articles to readers on for individual micropayments.

Guardian launches redesigned app: The Guardian has issued a new version of its app, available across all Android and iOS phones and tablets running Android 4 and iOS 7, with increased personalisation features and incorporating the user-generated content platform GuardianWitness.

BBC issues new guidance for journalists on using Twitter: 'Don't do anything stupid': Sage advice after head of the BBC newsroom Mary Hockaday tweeted "#WhyImVotingUkip – to stand up for white, middle class, middle aged men w sexist/racist views, totally under represented in politics today", just ahead of the European elections. She subsequently took no part in the BBC's election coverage.

With Farage on the loose, broadcasters and newspapers must realise they are no longer king-makers: Reflecting on the results of said European elections in the UK, Ian Burrell at The Independent observes that the media's assumed power to influence voting (no UK national newspaper came out in support of UKIP) is waning.

FT_main

Screenshot from FT.com

7 engaging ways news outlets covered the European election: More on the elections for data visualization fans, from Journalism.co.uk.

Metaio unveils Thermal Touch technology for making user interfaces out of thin air: Let's face it, we're all still hoping for our newspapers to become fabulously interactive. German company Metaio may have made a significant step towards this by developing its 'Thermal Touch' interface concept which could make any surface a use interface through a combination of thermal imaging and augmented reality. Applications they see for this include newspaper ads with clickable links. We'll just have to wait five years until they develop it.

Watch Skype translate a video conversation in real time: Another potentially transformative technology is speech-to-text (coverting audio files into printed words), which could have a huge impact on the use of audiovisual news archives. Microsoft are applying the technology - along with translation software - to Skype. Watch the video on the Quartz site and ponder the possibilities.

Royal privacy row as German tabloid publishes picture of the Duchess of Cambridge’s bare behind when her skirt blew up during Australia tour: Because it is news about news, we have to report the furore over the German magazine Bild's decision to publish a photograph of the Duchess of Cambridge's backside, and the decision by British newspapers not to do so. The Daily Mail report features a pixilated version of the image.

We're all aggregators now: Anyone can become a news publisher online simply by aggregating the news produced by others. Ann Friedman at Columbia Journalism Review comes up with three simple cardinal rules of being an ethical aggregator.

Preserving early periodicals and newspapers of Tamilnadu and Pondichery: The British Library's Endangered Archives Project has made 10,000 issues of rare periodicals from Tamilnadu & Pondicherry dating back to 1892 available online.

We just aggregated over 15.000 historical newspaper issues from Poland: More on digitised newspapers, which were already online but have now been incorporated in the Europeana portal. The Europeana Newspapers blog gives the background to these Polish additions.

John Humphrys offers advice to aspiring journalists: 'Don't do it': Today programme presenter John Humphrys tells Press Gazette he is advises not to go into journalism as a profession. "I am deeply pessimistic for the future of serious print journalism and I tell my own children and grandchildren to train for a profession where they're more likely to get a decent job with some hope of security". But Piers Morgan, Jon Snow, Ian Hislop, John Witherow and Kay Burley  and many others all disagree.

A journalist goes missing nearly every day in Ukraine: The week's most sobering news media statistic, from The Independent.

29 May 2014

Enabling access to digitised historic newspapers

Enabling access to digitised historic newspapers is an event being organised as part of the Europeana Newspapers Project with the aim to raise awareness of Europeana Newspapers and the value of collaboration to make historic newspapers content available online. It takes place at the British Library Conference Centre on 9 June 2014. There will be presentations from the UK partners in the Europeana Newspapers Project, The European Library and newspapers researchers.

Eunewspapers

The British Library is one of the partners in Europeana Newspapers, a three-year project running to January 2015 which aims to aggregate 18 million historic newspaper pages for Europeana and The European Library from across Europeana newspaper collections, and to convert 10 million of those newspaper pages to full text. Our role in the network is a relatively minor one, cheifly participating in the promotional work of the project and hosting this June event. The project is led by the Berlin State Library, and there are 18 project partners, 11 associate partners and 22 networking partners.

There are a few tickets left (at the time of typing ), which can be booked through this link.

Programme

09:30 -10:00 Arrival and Registrations (refreshments)

10:00-10:10 Welcome and aims of the day

10:10-10:30 News collections at the British Library (Dr Luke McKernan, British Library)

10:35-11:00 The British Newspaper Archive: Tales of the unexpected (Dr Ed King, Independent researcher)

11:10-11:40 Digital research and newspapers (Paul Gooding, Digital Preservation Coalition; Dr Ulrich Tiedau, University College London)

11:40-12:00 Welsh Newspapers Online (Alan Vaughan Hughes, National Library of Wales)

12:00-13:00 Lunch (provided)

13:00-13:30 Europeana Newspapers Project: an overview (Dr Rossitza Atanassova, British Library)

13:30-14:00 Europeana Newspapers browser (Alastair Dunning, The European Library)

14:00-14:30 Europeana Newspapers: evaluation and quality assessment (University of Salford)

14:30-15:00 Coffee break

15:00-16:00 Digitising and researching historic newspapers collections: panel discussion with Dr James Mussell, University of Leeds; Professor Lorna Hughes, University of Wales; DC Thomson Family History and others TBC

16:00 – End of the official programme

16:00-17:00 - Drinks and nibbles

23 May 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 19

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.   

Chart-5-more-getting-news-from-internet

One of DigiDay's five chart's illustrating the New York Times' digital challenges

The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age: The New York Times continues to dominate discussion about the news media, for the sacking of its female executive editor, and for its leaked report into its digital shortcomings. The title of this Nieman Journalism Lab investigation into the document's contents may be a touch hyperbolic, but it does reflect the fascination and excitement that the document has generated, with lessons for all those involved in news publication (on digital publishing generally).

The New York Times’ digital challenges, in 5 charts: It's a long document, so for those who don't have the time (or who find reading so much detail on a screen hard on the eyes...) DigiDay has produces five illuminating charts extracted from the report's data that tell the story of the NYT's digital struggles.

Le Monde and New York Times turn on their female editors: Peter Preston in the Observer looks behind the sacking of Jill Abramson at the New York Times and the ousting of Natalie Nougayrède at Le Monde through a staff revolt and sees it all as part of the brutal and sometimes clumsy weilding of power. Meanwhile, in her Guardian piece Life and death as a female editor Amanda Wilson (formerly editor of the Sydney Morning Herald) looks at the perils of editing while female.

"I thought of Hakim as a friend. Then he shot me": An unbeatable title for an article which is as powerful a read as you will find anywhere. Anthony Loyd, a hugely respected reporter with The Times, describes how he was kidnapped by Syrian rebels lead by someone that he had previously befriended and who had him severaly beaten and then personally shot him in the ankles to cripple him. Loyd was eventually freed following intervention by the Islamic Front. The Times piece is behind a paywall, but there is a BBC News interview with him that provides the main details.

8 million newspaper pages are now fully searchable: The British Newspaper Archive has hit the magic number of eight million historical newspaper pages digitised and available online. 

Local heroes: The British Newspaper Archive is largely made of the regional newspapers of times past. Press Gazette reports on the regional press of today and the winners of the Regional Press Awards 2013 (with a poweful set of front pages and prize-winning photographs).

Time to look afresh at the role of the BBC: The BBC's influence on regional news is a never-ending topic of debate. The Yorkshire Post has published the full text of a speech given to the Newspaper Society by Ashley Highfield, CEO of Johnston Press (and a former BBC high-flier) that calls for a new relationship between the BBC and regional publishers.

The BBC is one of the country’s most important cultural institutions and the relationship it has with us as a nation is truly astounding. But it’s not the BBC which has a direct relationship with people in Pocklington, Peterborough or Portsmouth. It’s us – the local media operators.

'BBC News should learn lessons from Buzzfeed in digital strategy': Of course it's charter renewal time, so everyone has advice for the BBC. Someone they might well listen to (given that he is being tipped as a possible BBC Chairman) is Sir Howard Stringer, who has produced a report on the future of BBC News. Comparing BBC News to the rapid rise of Buzzfeed, he argues "It is impossible to escape the conclusion that the BBC is punching well below its weight in the digital world." The report was commissioned by BBC Head of News James Harding, and readers of this blog will know that Harding himself champion Buzzfeed and its ilk in his WT Stead lecture given at the British Library in January.

BBC World News channel in 30m American homes: Meanwhile the BBC news channel you don't see unless you are outside the UK is doing rather well. Ariel report on the success of the advertising-supported 24-hour news channel BBC World in America, where it now reaches 30 million homes, up from six million two years ago.

What data journalists need to differently: Don't just rely on the same old sources, advises Liliana Bounegru in this really interesting piece on the rise of data journalism for Harvard Business Review.

How algorithms decide the news for you: Think you are finding the news for yourself on that phone of yours? Think again. Jihii Jolly at Columbia Journalism Review explains how social media and reading apps bring us the news depending on who we are and where we are.

These type of algorithms create a news literacy issue because if readers don’t know they are influencing content, they cannot make critical decisions about what they choose to read. 

Grasswire founder Austen Allred is trying to build a Wikipedia-style platform for real-time news: Mathew Ingram's pieces on new media for Gigaom tend to give you a lot of plain detail in their titles alone. Here he gives the background the crowdsourced breaking-news service Grasswire, a sort of Wikipedia for breaking news (or that's where its ambitions may take it).

What newsroom spaces tell us about the future of digital journalism: An interesting twist of digital journalism debates from PBS's Mediashift, reporting on a Tow Center for Digital Journalism study. What implications does physical space hold for the digital future of news?

Barbara Walters retires after five decades: American broadcaster Barbara Walters, famed for her high-profile interviews for ABC, has retired after 52 years in the business.

Globalised news looks around the world – but too little at the north: Peter Preston again, noting that for too many London-based journalists the digital world is more real than the actual ones in the north of England and Scotland, which are treated as remote places.

Fleet Street's last religious affairs position axed as Ruth Gledhill leaves Times after 27 years: End of an era, sort of, but as Ruth Gledhill interestingly says to Press Gazette:

When I started the job I was asked to take religion out of the sanctuary, and into the general news arena. And in a way you could say it’s a sign of my success that now my job has been made redundant because it’s so much a part of general news now.

The concept of news: And finally, this blog provides you with some thoughts about what news is, inspired by debate that took place at a Newsreel Netowrk meeting in Copenhagen. "How far does the idea of news stretch? Does it include any kind of information delivered to an audience at a particular time, or does it lie specifically in those media which identify themselves as being carriers of news, such as newspapers?". We will continue to discuss.

21 May 2014

The concept of news

'The Concept of News' was the title of a symposium organised by The Newsreel Network and held over 20-21 May at the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen. The Newsreel Network is a collection of scholars interested in newsreel research, convened by the University of Lund in Sweden, newsreels being  a common feature of cinema programmes in many countries between the 1910s and the 1960s. I was there

  1. because I have a particular interest in newsreels
  2. because the theme touched on all news media and I am interested in how newspapers, television news, radio news, newsreels and other media have interoperated
  3. because it was a gathering of some fine scholars from several countries
  4. because I was giving a talk on archiving news at the British Library
  5. because they paid me to go

The purposes of research networks such as these is to bring together scholars with interest in a common theme, to learn from one another’s research through the presentation of short papers, and to discover through discussion practical ways in which to further research in the field. Despite all the social interaction that goes on online, it still helps hugely to meet actual humans face-to-face, and a two-day symposium for fifteen or so people can be more productive in helping to shape an agenda and construct practical plans than a formal conference.

The full title of the symposium was ‘The Concept of News: Scandinavian and Global Perspectives’, and there were several short papers on newsreel research in the Scandanavian countries, as well as Belgium and East and West Germany, focussing on the subjects of the Cold War and the Suez Crisis. The latter was chosen as a useful example for cross-comparing how different national newsreels treated the same topic, often with the same footage – there were few camera teams on the spot  during Suez and what was filmed was pooled to other news organisations – but with dramatically different interpretations of that footage in the respective commentaries.

A paper I particularly liked was given by Tore Helseth of Lillehammer University College. He has found paper records of what international newsreels were shown in one small Norwegian town during the 1950s, and contents lists for those newsreels. This is a precious discovery, because for many countries barely any records survive that document what the contents were of the newsreels and when they were issued. In the UK we are fortunate that a huge amount of newsreel documentation survives. In America, by contrast, a vast amount of documentation has been lost, and the survival rate of the films themselves is sadly poor.

Most of the remainder of the symposium was given over to broader issues about news archives and the definition of news itself. These issues matter for us at the British Library, not simple because we what is probably the world’s largest news archive, but because we are looking to move from being a newspaper archive to becoming an archive for news in all its forms. This raises interesting issues of definition. How far does the idea of news stretch? Does it include any kind of information delivered to an audience at a particular time, or does it lie specifically in those media which identify themselves as being carriers of news, such as newspapers?

Professor Brian Winston of the University of Lincoln, talked about news vs information in his paper, which was a response to the recent book by Andrew Pettegree, The Invention of News, a history of the production of news 1400-1800 (previously covered by this blog). For Winston, Pettegree has failed to distinguish between a history of the delivery of plain information and a history of news, which is something mediated, always biased in one way or another, propagandist in the broadest sense, and never – in an absolute sense – true. He called on many early examples of news as an emerging form, starting with Galbert of Bruges, a lawyer driven to write a report on the assassination of  Charles the Good, Count of Flanders on 2 March 1127, to a 1499 woodcut of Vlad the Impaler to show how news is a political tool, to Ben Jonson’s 1625 play The Staple of News, a satire on  the proto-newspapers (corantos) being published in London, which includes these striking words:

We not forbid that any News be made,
But that't be printed; for when News is printed,
It leaves, Sir, to be News...

Act 1 Scene V

Winston concluded with the eternal truth, attributed to New York Sun editor John B. Bogart, “When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news”.

I enjoyed Winston’s provocative analysis, but for me the definition of news lies not in its producers but in its consumers. News is something that we seek out when we want to understand what is happening in our world, and plays a vital role in how we understand our place in that world. We seek it out from multiple newsforms, be that newspapers, TV, radio, web, pr mobile apps, and in past times from a medium such as the newsreels. Newsreels are important to this multimedia sense of the news, because they were the first news medium that consciously positioned itself as one link in the chain of news provision. Newsreels were issued once or twice a week, so they were always late with the news, but they understood from when they first emerged in the 1910s that their audience already knew what the news was – be that from newspapers or later radio. They added more to the understanding people had of what was news to them by providing it in motion pictures. They were built on choice. They played a key part in what it is to be modern: we the audience being given the tools with which to pick and choose how we build up the picture of our world. This applies many times over today, with the multifarious news (and information) outlets available that threaten at times to overwhelm us. The news is made by us.

 The symposium included some papers on radio news, which provided useful comparisons across the two news media. There was an interesting tension throughout the two days, between viewing the newsreels as a news medium (one which often fell short when it came to reporting ‘hard’ news) and viewing them for their own sake, as a distinctive product of the cinema entertainment industry rather than the news industry, as Sara Levavy of the Cortauld Institute argued. In truth, both definitions apply. Newsreels entertained, and they informed. That they informed best by their dependence on other news media, notably newspapers, to set the agenda, makes them interesting for news history itself, and helps illuminate how newspapers themselves worked for their public throughout much of the twentieth century.

16 May 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 18

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.   

Reykjavik

The Reykjavik Confessions: The creative strategies that have been applied to some recent immersive fictional web narratives have now been employed by BBC News for this visually-impressive and engrossing account of some Icleandic real-life murders, written by Simon Cox. The news is changing.

Celebrating local newspapers: It's been Local Newspaper Week, and this blog published a piece on how the British Library supports research using local newspapers, while the Newspaper Society's Making a Difference campaign highlighted a showcase of 30 of the strongest editorial campaigns across the UK, inviting anyone to vote for the best. 

The perils of 'hashtag activism': The #bringbackourgirls campaign on the plight of the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls has generated much comment. Jill Filipovic of Cosmopolitan magazine discusses the issues raised on MSNBC's The Cycle. By contrast, the Media Blog makes a strong argument in defence of #hashtag activism. Meanwhile RT (Russia Today) mischievously reports on how anti-drone campaigners have subverted Michelle Obama's much-tweeted picture holding up the hashtag.

Welcome to #UkraineDesk: And there's more on Twitter hashtags, with this interesting development - cutting edge digital media organisations MashableDiggMother JonesQuartzBreaking News Online, and VICE News have formed a collective to collaborate on reporting news from Ukraine. So far it's just a shared hashtag, but might it go further?

Why Jill Abramson Was Fired: The firing of New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson has been hotly debated. Ken Auletta at The New Yorker aims to get to the bottom of why, discovering that she was being paid less than her male predecessor. Needless so say, the publisher denies that this was the reason (while not really saying why she was removed from her post so abruptly).

Exclusive: New York Times Internal Report Painted Dire Digital Picture: A Buzzfeed scoop is news of this 96-page internal report commissioned by Abramson before her dismissal. It is withering in its assessment of the venerable paper's apparent struggles to keep up with the digital age, despite how things might appear on the surface.

'The government does not attack us physically because they are afraid of what the world will say':  Award-wining Nigerian journalist Musikilu Mojeed interviewed by Press Gazette on the difficulties of reporting in his country.

 

Comics unmasked: Closely allied to newspapers (and previously housed by the British Library alongside newspapers at Colindale), comics are the subject of the British Library's new exhibition. Those expecting  Desperate Dan or Biffo the Bear are likely to be surprised...

300,000 newspaper pages added, including the Daily Mirror: Our partners in digitisation, DC Thomson Family History, have added 300,000 pages to the British Newspaper Archive in April alone - including the Daily Mirror for 1915, as part of an increased focus on World War One newspapers. DC Thomson have also been busy working with the Imperial War Museums on the Lives of the First World War project (just think of it as 'Facebook for the Fallen'), announced this week.

Q&A with newspaper researchers: Kārlis Vērdiņš: Interesting interview on the Europeana Newspapers blog with a Latvian researcher looking at researching topics of gender and sexuality in Latvia at the turn of 20th century.

Madeleine McCann: is it time for the press regulator to step in?: Roy Greenslade is torn between defending the press and defending the subjects of the obsessional interest of the press.

The best and worst things about journalists:  Tony Harcup, editor of the Oxford Dictionary of Journalism, lists nine best ("Our default position is healthy scepticism") and nine worst ("Our scepticism can sometimes become cynicism") things about journalists.

The state journalism is in: Julian Petley, influential Professor of Screen Media at Brunel University, has written three posts for the Informm blog on the UK press treatment of the Edward Snowden story, taken from the journal Ethical Space. Part two is here, part three here. Roy Greenslade helpfully summarises the arguments made here. Broadly Petley asserts that "the overarching theme in the press campaign against The Guardian was national security."

Robot reporter: Journalism in the Age of Automation and Big Data: We have published a podcast of the excellent W.T. Stead lecture given at the British Library by Emily Bell, where she considers how new technologies will affect journalism and the role of reporters and editors. Look out for a particularly strong question and answer session at the end.

CNN Taps Google Glass For Citizen Journalism: Two of the sort of thing Emily Bell highlights in her talk - using Google Glass to report the news, and media organisations challenging the US government's ban on the use of drones by journalists. The news is changing.

14 May 2014

Celebrating Local Newspapers

This week (12 -18 May 2014) is Local Newspaper Weeka celebration of the positive impact that regional press can have upon their communities. Local Newspaper Week aims to highlight the worthwhile causes and campaigns that our regional papers have run and the impact that these crusades have wrought. 

Local papers are far more than their weird and wonderful slow news day stories – an aspect often derided in the media, as demonstrated by a marvellous April Fool’s Day joke from the Harrogate Advertiser (seen here in the Wetherby News) which managed to convince even the hardiest of journalists that a lost hat was in fact breaking news! In actuality, they contain some exceptionally influential editorial campaigns that help the communities they support, for example: keeping museums from closure; raising money for people in need of  medical treatment; and raising awareness of important issues, such as  poverty.

Hat1

Harrogate Advertiser's infamous article. Image courtesy of BuzzFeed

 

Local Press for Local People?

Regional press evolved in tandem with the national papers, the first known example is purported to be the Norwich Post, established in 1701 by the printer Francis Burges. By 1805, there were more than 100 provincial papers in production throughout England, and many towns had more than one title to compete for readership. Despite their contents generally being little more than a cut and paste version of the national news, rivalry was rife – the York Gazetteer was founded “to correct the weekly poison of the York Courant” (Black 1992: 13 in The Encyclopedia of the British Press)! 

The foundation of the Press Association in 1868 enabled regional papers to gather news via an annual subscription, likewise, the supply of telegrams from Reuters was only 1 pound per week, enabling the provincial papers to fill their columns with important news. Local papers were, originally, local in almost every aspect: owned, produced and read around their communities in addition to covering stories of regional interest. They also presented the news through the eyes of the community, concentrating on important local issues, “letters to the editor” and human interest stories. The below poem from the Newcastle Courant (British Newspaper Archive: 18 February 1876) explains what a [local] newspaper ought to be: reading matter suitable for “all classes of the community”.

Poem1

Papa, what is a newspaper, and what does it contain? Newcastle Courant 18 February 1876. 
Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Local papers are a far cry from merely containing pieces of fluff or absurdity – compare the following two pieces from Bradford’s Telegraph and ArgusWedding brawl - over a pork pie and Stop the cut - save our national media museum

 

Is Extinction Imminent?

Scholarly research frequently emphasises the declining number of local newspapers, their loss of readership and the subsequent ending of long-running papers such as the Liverpool Post (1855 – 2013); the catalyst being that regional papers are now local in name only (Franklin 2006: xxi). Such papers are now owned by monopoly newspaper groups and often based outside their town centres, potentially causing the newspapers to lose touch with the communities that they support.

Despite this decrease in the amount of regional papers produced, there are still 1,100 local newspapers and 1,700 associated websites in the UK that are read by 79 million unique users per month from all over the world (Newspaper Society 2014). Additionally, a new local paper, the Peckham Peculiar, was created in January 2014 !

 

Accessing Local Papers

Now that your curiosity has been piqued, here is a quick guide as to how you can view these regional gems yourselves.

The British Library provides access to the print (or microfilm-surrogate) copies of regional papers via the Legal Deposit Act –approximately 1,500  UK and Irish titles are collected per week. These can be ordered via Explore and viewed within the Newsroom. (Please bear in mind that hard copies will remain embargoed until the Colindale collection move has been completed in Autumn 2014.)

News websites with a .uk domain have been harvested since the 2013 Non-Print Legal Deposit Act, and again these can be accessed from the Reading Rooms.

Alternatively, researchers can access historical archives via our e-resources platforms available such as the British Newspaper Archive and NewsBank within the British Library Reading Rooms. These platforms offer the full-text search facilities, making the researching process a lot easier (though some have fallen foul to OCR software, so don’t be too disheartened if you can’t find your article the first time round. Readers are encouraged to submit their corrections to improve the service! We'll also be giving workshops on how to use these e-resources in the near future. Keep an eye out for more details here.) 

Your local libraries and archives may also have their own collection of regional press available for viewing. 

 

And Finally...

I'll leave you with a couple of my favourite historical articles from local press, courtesy of the British Newspaper Archive. You'll notice a theme of soldiers and ducks...

Ducks2

Gossip of the day: Three thousand soldiers quacking like ducks. Yorkshire Evening Post 27 Janurary 1903.
Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.


Ducks6

Dymchurch. Kentish Chronicle 1 September 1860.
Image © D.C.Thomson & Co. Ltd. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Further Reading

Arlitsch, K. and Herbert, J. 2004. Microfilm, paper, and OCR: issues in newspaper digitization. Microform and Imaging Review, 33(2):58--67  Available here.

Franklin, B. (ed.) 2006 Local journalism and local media: making the local news. London: Routledge

Griffiths, D. (ed.) 1992 The encyclopedia of the British Press: 1422 - 1992. London: Macmillan

Murphy, M. 1991 Newspapers and local history. [s.l.]: Published by Phillimore for British Association for Local History

 

 

09 May 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 17

It's a shorter edition this week of the St Pancras Intelligencer, our weekly round-up of news about news, as your blogger is on holiday, following the heady events surrounding the opening of the Newsroom at the British Library. But the news goes on, even if one is sunning oneself and sipping coffee at some Parisian boulevard, so here are a few of the week's links that have caught our eye.

Faces

Search results for the term 'terrorist' using the BBC/Oxford University Face Recognition Prototype

Face recognition and new ways to search the archive: The tremendously bright people at BBC R&D are doing some remarkable work exploring ways in which to improve the discovery and use of television and radio archives in a digital age. Their latest venture is into face recognition, where they have been collaborating with a team from Oxford University. You can have fun testing out their Face Recognition Prototype which uses images of faces taken from BBC News programmes from the last 5 years.

Mail Online has grown ten-fold since its 2008 relaunch, but is it journalism?: Bethany Usher at Press Gazette marvels at how Mail Online has achied a 690 per cent increase in audience in the first five years since its relaunch, but is news aggregation of the kind practised on the site really journalism?

Inside the Financial Times' digital strategy: A really interesting piece from Ricardo Bilton at DigiDay on how the Financial Times has built its digital business around an audience-driven subscription model.

Pro-Kremlin journalists win medals for 'objective' coverage of Crimea: The Guardian reports that President Putin has awarded medals of the "Order of Service to the Fatherland" to 300 journalists for their Kremlin-friendly coverage.

Brown Moses, his alter ego Eliot Higgins, and the rise of the self-trained journalist: Mathew Ingram at Gigaom (one of the most stimulating media analysts out there) tells the story behind the success of citizen journalist Eliot Higgins - aka Brown Moses - who without any journalism background chose to write about the Syrian conflict and to uncover data one the use of weaponry through assiduous analysis of online sources. Ingram writes:

Eliot is living proof not only of the idea that the tools of journalism are now available to anyone, but that the skills and functions that used to be included in that term are effectively being disaggregated or unbundled. Just as the eyewitness reporting part of a journalist’s job can be done by anyone, the fact-checking or research function that backs up this reporting can be quite easily done by someone who is smart, methodical and motivated like Eliot Higgins...

The future of media isn't about breaking news scoops, it's about credibility and trust: Also from Ingram, his take on the controversial and much-discussed comments made by Feliz Salmon on the cult of scoops in the news industry (which matter a lot to journalists while their readers care not a jot whose scoop it might be).

News drones over El Salvador: Jamie Stark at Global Post reports on the use of drones for news-gathering in El Salvador and other Latin American countries, something not possible in the USA, which (currently) bans the use of drones for news and comercial purposes.

Why LinkedIn is morphing from a social network into an online newspaper: Leo Mirani at Quartz looks at how the professional social network LinkedIn is looking to bring meaningful information to the millions of professionals worldwide now signed up to the service. “They would like guys like you and me to look at our LinkedIn newsfeed as part of our morning ritual, the same way some people look at Twitter” says one commentator.

Why we should celebrate journalism of the past, present and future: Tony Harcup, author of the forthcoming Oxford Dictionary of Journalism, rejoices in journalims in all its "gloriously messy" forms, while being unsure of what it's future will be. Only two things he is sure of:

1. Journalists will always hark back to a mythical golden age that seems to coincide with when they were young, and which has now gone for ever.

2. Anything with the temerity to be called a dictionary of journalism will always provoke journalists to scour it for omissions, errors or slights to prove that the author knows nothing about anything.

02 May 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 16

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.  

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Robert Peston speaking at the launch of the Newsroom

Open for business: Well, we've been busy this week. The British Library's Newsroom was officially launched by the Secretary of State for Culture, Sajid Javid, on Monday 28 April, with a star turn from the BBC's Robert Peston,  before a gathering of journalists, media commentators, educationalists, British Library staff and ordinary users of our newspaper collection and other news services. There was a promotional video, a TV news package that appeared on many regional newspaper sites, and widespread media coverage (I think my favourite was Us vs Th3m's breathless 'The British Library is now improved with ARCHIVE ROBOTS'). The Newsroom's own blog post looks behind the scenes at the manufacutring of our own news event.

A strategy for news: On the day of the Newsroom launch we published a summary of our news content strategy for 2014-2017. It points the way for turning a world-class newspaper service into a world-class news service, by collecting (or connecting to) not only newspapers, but television news, radio news and web news.

Sajid Javid: Hacking down to 'bad apples' - press freedom 'cornerstone of democracy': The new Culture Secretary says it is up to press industry to decide how to proceed with regulation following the phone hacking scandal, reports Press Gazette.

Announcing FB Newswire, Powered by Storyful: Facebook and social news agency Storyful (owned by News Corp) have launched FB Newswire, which describes itself as "a resource for journalists that aggregates newsworthy social content shared publicly on Facebook by individuals and organizations" and could be a significant development in (social) news gathering. Facebook's Newsroom explains the background.

Local TV plan on the rocks as funding frozen, while London Live head quits: Oh dear. Plans for a network of local TV stations appear to have hit the rocks, while the chief programmer of London Live (which shares an owner with the Evening Standard, which has liberally promoted the channel) quit following terrible viewing figures, including near zero for some news programmes.

Nate Silver’s advice to young journalists: Learn to code now: Emily Bell gave a scintiallating lecture at the British Library on automated journalism, which we'll be blogging about in due course. One of the themes she raised was the advantages of journalists being able to code, and others have raised the same issue this week. US news media star Nate Silver tells Geekwire that “If you’re an aspiring journalist who knows how to code really well, you are in a very hot market”, and Richard Sambrook argues that "journalists can learn lessons from coders in developing the creative future".

Ofcom should be looking again at Putin's TV news channel: Steve Bloomfield at The Guardian is appalled by the news coverage from RT (formerly Russia Today), which is readily available to UK viewers (and programmes from which are recorded daily for the British Library's Broadcast News service).

Anyone who has tired of Sky News's endless reporting of the Oscar Pistorius trial or CNN's down-the-rabbit-hole coverage of the hunt for Flight MH370 would accept that the world of 24-hour TV news could do with an alternative voice. But propaganda for an autocratic government and conspiracy theories linked to antisemitism are not an alternative anyone should be comfortable with.

Paying for online news: Dominic Ponsford at Press Gazette considers the mixed lessons to be learned from the Telegraph's metered paywall, one year on from its introduction.

Journalists' sources are no longer safe in Australia: Paul Farrell at The Guardian worries how Australia's Telecommunications Interception and Access Act 1979 could permit government agencies instantaneously to track down journalists’ sources.

ITV’s new breakfast show divides opinion: Four presenters at a single desk (plus weather reporter standing awkwardly by), fast pace, US feel, and star acquisition in Susanna Reid: ITV's Good Morning Britain launched on Monday and has had mixed reviews so far, as in this Metro report. But no one is saying bring back Daybreak.

Print is not the future, but it's not the past either: Peter Preston at The Observer thinks print's not dead yet - not while the industry has yet to work out how to make money from digital.

Revealed: The top 10 regional papers on Twitter: interesting list from Hold the Front Page of the top ten UK regional newspapers with the largest number of followers on Twitter. The Liverpool Echo's @LivEchonews comes out top with 136K followers. But what do they mean by saying that 77 newspapers in the UK are using Twitter? Our figures here suggest well over 350 do so...

Fears grow that the BBC News Channel could become online only: Could the BBC News 24-hour channel go online-only (as has been suggested will happen to BBC30 as part of BBC cost-cutting plans. Ian Burrell at The Independent asks the questions.

The Onion sets its sights on BuzzFeed, Upworthy: At last, The Onion is to set its sights on the listmania of quasi-news sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy with a new site to mock the whole concept called Clickhole (launches in June). Unless the news about this is a spoof itself...

Max Clifford has finally got some of his own medicine: Max Clifford has been found guilty of eight counts of indecent assault, and schadenfraude reigns in the media world. At The Drum one "master of spin" Richard Hillgrove considers the downfall of another.

An incomplete list of things which are going to shape the next journalism: George Brock's latest wise overview of how journalism is changing, with seven issues that all in the industry need to be asking themselves.

BBC hacks – tweet the crap out of the news, cries tech-dazzled Trust: You can trust The Register to have taken a less than deferential apporoach to the BBC Trust's report Getting the best out of the BBC for licence fee payers: BBC Trust Review, BBC Network News and Current Affairs.

Once the BBC was un-ignorable, whatever age you might be. Today, half of under-25s and two thirds of under-20s ignore it completely. And even online, apathy reigns: the corporation's digital share has increased from only 24 per cent of adults in 2012 to 26 per cent today.

We haven’t even scratched surface of explainer journalism: Adam Tinworth at journalism.co.uk looks at the US phenomenon of explainer/exploratory/data/call-it-what-you-will journalism and argues that we need to "rethink our content models to make our journalism relevant for a digital age".

Jeremy Paxman to step down as presenter of Newsnight: The nation's favourite torturer of politicians is standing down in June.