08 December 2021
Opening next April, Breaking the News, supported by Newsworks, is a major exhibition from the British Library, spotlighting the role news plays in our society, exploring issues of choice, interpretation, truth and trust in the news.
Smashed hard drives used by The Guardian to store Edward Snowden’s files © Guardian News & Media Ltd 2021
From the earliest surviving printed news report in Britain on the Battle of Flodden in 1513, to smashed hard drives used by The Guardian to store Edward Snowden’s files and an original BBC radio script announcing the D-Day landings, Breaking the News will go beyond physical newspapers to examine the role news in its many forms plays in our lives. Presenting historical and contemporary reports on war, natural disasters, crime, politics and celebrity scandals, the exhibition will reveal that while the themes that interest us generally do not change, the form and ownership of news does.
Breaking the News will interrogate what makes an event news, what a free press means, the ethics involved in making the news, what objective news is and how the way we encounter news has evolved. Delving into the biggest collection of news heritage in the UK, housed by the British Library, these pressing issues will be set against the backdrop of over five centuries of news publication in Britain through newspapers, newsreels, radio, television, the internet and social media.
Ahead of, and then in tandem with the Breaking the News exhibition, pop-up displays will open at over 30 public libraries across the UK, via the Living Knowledge Network. The displays will draw upon each library’s individual collection and regional connections to celebrate the value of regional news in communities across the UK.
Breaking the News will run 22 April-21 August 2022.
The touring exhibition will run 24 February to August 2022.