THE BRITISH LIBRARY

The Newsroom blog

14 posts categorized "Newsroom"

11 April 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 13

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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.  

Newsroom3April2014-13

The Newsroom

Opening day: So of course the British Library tops the week's news about news with the opening on April 7th of the Newsroom, its new reading room for news. Newspapers, television news, radio news and web news can now all be found in the one physical space - though for newspapers that means microfilm and digital for now, until the print papers become available again in the autumn. It all looks very beautiful - and has a lot more people in it than in this photo taken just before it opened.

Shift 2014: It's all been happening here this week, with Newsworks, the marketing body for UK national newspapers, holding its Shift 2014 conference at the British Library. The live blog of the event includes reactions to star turns such as the editors of The Guardian (Alan Rusbridger), The Independent (Amol Rajan) and The Telegraph (Jason Seiken) and Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP. Jason Seiken's speech is here.

Here & Then: And there's more. The British Newspaper Archive, which provides digitised copies of British Library newspapers online, has issued a free iPhone app, Here & Then, with articles, images and adverts from the collection. Oh, and 135,000 pages were added to the BNA site in March.

What will yesterday’s news look like tomorrow?: Article of the week, by a mile. Adrienne LaFrance at Medium looks at the future of news archives, which focus on how they are catalogued and their data mapped for rediscovery in the future. "News organizations need to design archives that better mirror the experience of consuming news in real time, and reflect the idea that the fundamental nature of a story is ongoing".

The Press Freedom Issue: Contributoria, the community funded, collaborative journalism site, published a special issue on press freedom this month. Among the great articles available are Crowdfunding critical thought: How alternative finance builds alternative journalism, Court and council reporting - still a bedrock of local news?, Pirate journalism and The printing press created journalism. The Internet will destroy it. Read and learn.

News is still a man's world: A City University study reveals that male experts still outnumber female experts by a ratio of four to one on flagship radio and TV news programmes.

Has Thompson at the NYT given newspapers a new way to pull in extra cash and readers?: Mark Thompson, former BBC DG and now heading the New York Times, may have had a big idea - New York Times Premier, an added subscription to the online version of the newspaper, with additional content, offers (two free ebooks a month), even special crosswords. The Drum speculates.

Upvoting the news: long, engrossing article by Alex Leavitt for Medium on how news spreads across social media channels, with particular emphasis on Reddit.

The state of Egypt's news media: Al Jazeera's excellent news analysis programme The Listening Post looks at the "sorry state of journalism in Egypt".

Fracking

A sample 'card' from Vox.com

Three good things about Ezra Klein’s new site Vox, plus three challenges that it faces: The much-hyped Vox.com site, with celebrity news blogger Ezra Klein, launched on April 6th. Mathew Ingram at Gigaom says what he likes (especially the user-friendly 'cards' with background information to stories) then wonders how it will thrive.

Bristol Post editor baffled by fact that front page gay kiss costs thousands of sales: Press Gazette reports on what happened when Bristol Post editor Mike Norton decided to put same-sex marriage on his paper's front page.

'Video-checking' the Clegg and Farage debate: Fact-checking videos - where videos of speeches are analysed to see whether or not the statements made stand up - have been popularised by The Washington Post's Truth Teller. Now the fact-checking organisation Full Fact have done the same for LBC's Nick Clegg v Nigel Farage debate.

Peaches Geldof – was the coverage by newspapers, and TV, over the top?: Roy Greenslade ponders on what would have been proptionate news coverage for the sad death of Peaches Geldof.

More UGC, fewer photographers – and no paywalls:  Editors set out visions of future: Hold the Front Page reports on the Society of Editors Regional Conference, where likely changes to the regional newspaper world were set out: user-generated content, smaller offices, cover price rises,  no staff photographers, and no paywalls.

One easy, transparent way of making accuracy visible: open sourcing: George Brock argues that the way for news providers to build up trust is through links to source material - footnotes, sort of, though he prefers the term open sourcing. 

How some journalists are using anonymous secret-sharing apps: Using apps like Whisper and Secret to turn rumour into news.

We need to talk: Raju Narisetti, senior vice president of strategy at News Corp, poses 26 questions to ask news organisations about the move to digital. Fascinating insight into a business in transition.

 

08 April 2014

Opening day

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On Monday 7 April 2014, at 10:00, the Newsroom opened at the British Library. We were just about ready. I don't know what it is about we humans, but with all the months, indeed years, of planning that went into developing a new reading room for news at the British Library, we were working right up to the last minute getting the last fixtures and fittings in place. Was it true, as I heard, that they only hung the Newsroom sign up above the door with not much more than an hour to spare? The first punters didn't notice any such final hammering or tweaking. They queued patiently outside, though our first researcher actually managed to come into the Newsroom via a side entrance, which we hadn't expected. Those who came in through the front door gawped briefly at the newness before them, then made their way to the desks. "Bloody hell", said one. Which was nice. 

Longview

View down the Newsroom

The Newsroom is the British Library's news reading room for its news collections. It replaces what was the Newspaper Library at Colindale, though the print newspapers themselves are being transferred to dedicated storage facilities at Boston Spa in Yorkshire. They will become available to order once more in the Autumn, so the Newsroom at present offers access to microfilm and digital newspapers, as well as television, radio and web news.

Microfilm_readers

Row of terminals with microfilm readers

The Newsroom seats around 100, with 40 microfilm readers with digital display and monitors that can be turned landscape or portrait depending on how you wish to view your newspaper.  There is a large number of newspaper microfilm reels available on open access, while the remainder can be ordered from our basements with a promised maximum delivery time of 70 minutes. There are also many news media reference books available on the open shelves, photocopying facilities, and of course our expert reference team, who quietly introduced researchers to the news resources, the intricacies of the microfilm readers, and the other particulars of the Newsroom. 

Front_pages

Newspaper front pages display

We wanted to made the Newsroom a visually striking and newsy place, while ensuring that it remain first and foremost a place for study. A striking feature is the row of 21 newspaper from pages, from 1643 to 2013, which decorate the length of one wall above the microfilm cabinets. The display works both as a history of newspaper design and of history in the making as reflected through newspapers.

Cubicles

Cubicles in the networking areas, with Twitter display above

Some of the most eye-catching features are in the networking area, which is the first part of the Newsroom that you see when you enter. It's an area that's open to anyone (you only require a reader's pass to enter the main reading room) and it is meant to be both an informal space and an area in which to display news present and past. There are tables, chairs and sofas liberally scattered about (with plenty of charging points, which we suspect will make the space very popular very quickly). On one side is a row of cubicles, with above it Twitter feeds which show the news coming in as it is tweeted from news web sites that we archive. So, in a way, you see the news being made, and the news being saved.

Video_wall

The video wall

The live news element is also seen in the networking area's most striking feature, the video wall, which occupies a large part of one side of the space. We plan to have different kinds of display on its multiple screens in due course, but we have started with a BBC news ticker feed, live TV news from Sky News, archive videos from our Broadcast News service, a loop of front pages for news-based websites that we will be archiving, and a display of the ingenious Newsmap news aggregator site, developed by Marcos Weskamp, which shows news stories around the world in a grid format, classified by territory, place and importance.

Issue_desk

Issue desk

The networking area and main reading room filled up gratifying quickly over the day, though it is Easter time when the British Library is always particularly busy, and a lot of the desks were occupied by overspill from other reading rooms. But that's fine. The Newsroom is not an ivory castle for news. We're interested in seeing the boundaries blurred between what gets researched where, just as we are looking beyond newspapers to incorporate other forms of news publication, to create a richer, more interconnected archive.

Full

View down the Newsroom through the glass partition between networking area and main reading room

There was much else besides on that first day - British Library colleagues coming to admire, familiar faces from Colindale days settling down to continue their work once more, much tweeting of images and updates, some fretful pulling out of hair when the live video stream failed for a while, some careful explanation to visitors that the footage of rioting in Tottenham was an archive recording from 2011 and did not mean what they thought it meant... I held my first meeting there, charged up my computer there, and drank the first cup of coffee there (in the networking area, I hasten to add, not the reading room itself, which would not be allowed). And we launched a new set of web pages for news media (we have to call it that to avoid confusion with news about the British Library).

We hope we may see you there soon. We're on the second floor.

Doorway

Welcome

 

 

 

14 March 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 9

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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. 

  Newsroom_issue desk

The Newsroom: Well of course we have to start with our own big news, which is that the Newsroom - the British Library's news reading room for news - opens at St Pancras on Monday 7 April. Is this first library space ever to be named after a blog...?

Named Entity Recognition for newspapers: Not the most exciting title for a blog post, but something worth reading closely by anyone interested in the future of digitised newspaper research. Europeana Newspapers explains how key terms can be extracted from newspaper text to enhance search and improve linkage of data.

News Archive Connected Studio: Build Studio: Keep an eye on what Peter Rippon and his team at the BBC are doing in planning how to open up their news archives. Much audience testing is coming first.

Why Twitter will never be a news organization: An interesting interview in Time with Twitter's Head of News, Vivian Schiller. "The Twitter news team is never going to pick and choose news stories, pick and choose winners. That’s not our job at all. But what we need to do is ... to make it easier for news organizations but also for our consumers to find what they’re looking for."

Why Twitter can't keep crashing: Mat Honan at Wired says that Twitter has become too important to how the world gains its news to have the crashes that it not infrequently does have. "It is the definition of breaking news. Twitter is increasingly the key place where information is born – stuff that maybe starts with one person but is important to the whole world."

Strictly algorithm: Really interesting article by Stuart Dredge at The Guardian on how the news we wants find us - through algorithms - and what this means for news, journalism and democracy.

Thomas Jewell Bennett: an early supporter of Indian Home Rule: Pat Farrington writes for the British Library's Untold Lives blog on her great-uncle, editor of the Times of India, some of whose letters are held here.

Russia’s information warriors are on the march – we must respond: Anne Applebaum at the Telegraph sets out to sort out the truth from lies in the Russian media's reporting of the crisis in Ukraine.

Channel4subtitle

Ah, sweet irony: For afficianados of errors in TV subtitles, much joy was brought about by this misinterpretation of Matt Frei talking about Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Channel 4 News.

BBC values: The BBC Academy interviews James Harding, director of BBC News, about values and maintaining audience trust.

Endangered species: At British Journalism Review Kim Fletcher argues that traditional newspaper editors are on their way out; content officers are on their way in.

Fleet Street editors of the past were little different from those of today: Talking of which, Roy Greenslade reviews Dennis Griffiths' Blum & Taff: A tale of two editors, on R.D. Blumenfeld and H.A. Gwynne, Fleet Street greats from another age.

Why venture capitalists are suddenly investing in news: Adrienne LaFrance at Quartz looks at why the investment money is pouring into the new kids on the news block: Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Vice etc. As one interviewee puts it: "“They are all technology companies first ... They understand how people utilize technology and how to present and create content."

Journalism startups aren't a revolution if they're filled with all these white men: Emily Bell looks at the somewhat familiar make-up of some supposedly cutting edge news start-ups.

Robot reporters and the age of drone journalism: And finally, look out for Emily Bell's lecture on how new technogies are driving the future of journalism, at the British Library on 25 April.

07 March 2014

The Newsroom

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The Newsroom - it's a good name. It's a place where any kind of news gets made, be it print, broadcast or web. It's at the heart of information.  It's a point from which we can look out and see the world for what it is. A newsroom is where we plan to understand things.

Newsroomview

Visualisation of the Newsroom

At any rate, it's the name of the British Library's new reading room for news, which we can now announce will be opening on 7 April 2014. It was back in November 2013 that the Newspaper Library at Colindale closed, since when we have been working on preparing and then sending the newspapers to the new Newspaper Storage Building in Boston Spa, Yorkshire (the first newspaper start being shipped there in March). Meanwhile, we have been preparing the new reading room for news at St Pancras. If you know the building, then it's on the second floor, above the Business & IP Centre. 

The Newsroom will be divided into two parts. Users familiar with the Colindale service will notice many changes - all for the better, we hope. There will longer opening hours, 40 state-of-the-art digital microfilm readers, and a much wider range of microfilmed titles available on open access. This will include the 15 most highly-requested national titles – including The TimesThe GuardianThe Independent, the Daily Mail and The Sunday Times - whereas in Colindale we only offered The Times on open access. There will be access to extensive digitised and multimedia collections, including the Broadcast News service with its recordings from 22 television and radio news channels, and the BBC catalogue with TV and radio programmes from 2007, which will move from a pilot service to a regular service.

The second, smaller part of the Newsroom will be at the front, an informal area for networking, testing out digital resources, and viewing news content as it is produced. We want the Newsroom to be about news today as much as news yesterday, and to draw out the connections between the two.

Newsroom

Design for part of the Newsroom, showing the issue desk with networking area beyond

Before the room opens, we've been making significant service changes. On 17 February the periodicals formerly held at Colindale - and put on embargo in June of last year - became available once more. The majority of these periodicals, some 24,000 titles, have been moved to Boston Spa and will be available to order into any St Pancras Reading Room within 48 hours. A small number of high-use periodicals are being stored at St Pancras and will be available to order into any St Pancras Reading Room (not just the Newsroom) within 70 minutes. 

These can be ordered online in advance via explore.bl.uk, where there have also been changes. There is no longer a separate Newspaper Library tab for searching, instead newspapers have been fully integrated into search (though you can still search on newspapers alone by using the Advanced Search option). There is improved information about newspapers titles and volumes that we hold, and links to digital versions where they exist on the British Newspaper Archive site.

Users can track the progress of their requests via My Reading Room Requests. Records for microfilm and print newspapers that are currently being moved are also now visible. The print newspapers themselves won't be available in April, however. It's going to take until the autumn until they are all stored at Boston Spa and the service ready to go. Then they will be delivered to St Pancras within 48 hours, but if there is an access copy - i.e. a copy on microfilm or in digital form - then that's what we will provide for you, rather than the print copy. Around a third of the collection of some 60 million newspaper issues is accessible through microfilm access copies, so most research enquiries are likely to be answered by the microfilm in any case, and they will all be onsite at St Pancras.

And there's more, because there is also work underway to improve facilities for users at Boston Spa. When completed (in the next few weeks), the reading room there will provide access to print newspaper and digital copies where available, but not the microfilms. Meanwhile, access to the Boston Spa collection is being maintained via a temporary Reading Room nearby in the same building.

There's more information on the opening and our news services on the British Library newspaper moves pages including our March 2014 Collection Moves Bulletin (PDF).

We've not been idle. We hope to continue to be useful.