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21 posts categorized "Radio"

21 May 2014

The concept of news

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'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.

02 May 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 16

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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.  

BLNewsroom28.4.14_005

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.

28 April 2014

A strategy for news

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The British Library is close to completing its £33M, seven-year Newspaper Programme, designed to ensure the long-term preservation of the UK's collection of newspapers by building a dedicated store in Boston Spa, Yorkshire, closing down the former Newspaper Library at Colindale and opening a new reading room for newspapers at its St Pancras site, the Newsroom. It has also partnered with DC Thomson Family History to digitise 40 million newspaper pages over a period of ten years (2010-2020).

Recently we have been looking to the future and developing a news content strategy to guide collection development over the next four years. Simply put, at a time when the production and consumption of news are changing radically, the strategy points the way for turning a world-class newspaper service into a world-class news service. On the day of the  official launch of the Newsroom, this is an overview of our strategy for news 2014-2017.

Newspapers

Newspaper volumes for various national titles from the British Library collection. We have over 660,000 bound and boxed volumes of newspapers, a third of which are also available on microfilm, while 2% has been digitised. Our policy is that users should consult microfilm or digital alternatives to the print copy where these are available. 

Changing news

The news media are undergoing significant change, with a move from print to digital and news organisations increasingly viewing themselves as being news providers rather than simply newspaper publishers. The Guardian's shift in strategy from 'from a print-based organisation to one that is digital-first in philosophy and practice' is symptomatic of changes impacting across the industry. News is gathered and composed digitally, and then transmitted through a variety of media, one of which – for the time being – remains the print newspaper. Moreover, the idea itself of who produces the news is being challenged by the rise in ‘citizen journalism’ and the way social media can be used by anyone to break a news story.

This model applies equally to the past. News does not exist, and probably never has existed, through one medium. It is we, the readers, who construct the news by selecting from the variety of forms on offer. Users should be able to discover and comprehend whatever the news choices were at whatever point in time that they choose.

NHK_tsunami

NHK World TV coverage of the tsunami of 11 March 2011, from the British Library's Broadcast News collection. Though NHK World is a Japanese station, it is available in English free-to-air in the UK via Freesat and so falls within our definition of 'news produced in the UK or which has had an impact on the UK'.

Objectives

Our news content strategy has been developed in the context of the Library's overall 2012-2015 Content Strategy, which sets out the Library’s three-fold role: to develop the national published archive through legal deposit; to support UK research through collecting and connecting to contemporary content; and to support research and culture through developing world-class primary research collections.

The news content strategy keeps within this framework, and has these key objectives:

The Library’s news offering should incorporate the full range of news media – newspapers, news websites, television news, radio news, and other media – through a combination of legal deposit, purchase and voluntary deposit, capture through copyright exception, and connecting to both licensed content and content shared with strategic partners.

The Library should view news as part of the broader media landscape, finding the news content it requires by collecting or connecting to the UK media world (print, web, audiovisual), of which news forms a fundamental part.

The Library's news content should comprise primarily news most relevant to UK users, meaning news produced in the UK or which has had an impact on the UK.

News content that falls outside the definition of news produced in the UK or which has impacted upon the UK should be covered by other subject-led areas of the content strategy.

The content strategy for news media is underpinned by legal deposit collecting, both print and non-print, but incorporates audiovisual media that lie outside legal deposit.

The Library must be a champion of regional news, including regional newspapers, hyperlocal websites, community radio and regional television news.

The Library primarily collects and connects to published news, not raw news data.

The Library's news content (or news data) should be made as widely available as possible to UK audiences, offering content online through licence, subscription, copyright exception and partnership arrangements, as well as maintaining physical research centres in London and Boston Spa.

The Library recognises that the concept of ‘news’ can be expanded to embrace anything of relevance to a particular community at a particular point in time, which long-term could have considerable impact on how it describes content and the services that it offers.

Lbc

The Library's radio news collections including daily recordings made of LBC programmes. We are seeking ways of making radio (and television) programmes as word-searchable as printed sources, to create equality of searching across the different news media.

News today and yesterday

The British Library's news collection needs to be considered in two ways: the cumulative historical corpus, and the current and ongoing collection. Stressing news currency will be an important element of the Library’s position as a news centre, capturing the world’s matters today while illustrating that behind every such story lies a history that the Library can help uncover. The Newsroom is an expression of this intention, offering the best possible service for the researcher of yesterday's news while highlighting the news we are collecting today.

We already have 60 million newspaper issues (from the 1600s onwards), 25,000 news-based websites (archived since 2013) and over 40,000 television and radio programmes (mostly recorded since 2010). The collection grows by over 2,400 news publications each week - 1,500 newspapers, 500 news websites, 280 television news programmes and 140 news radio programmes. Our task will then be not simply to collect, preserve and make accessible these different news forms, but to facilitate the connections between them.

Our overall aims for the individual news media are:

Newspapers: To continue to collect UK and Irish newspapers under legal deposit, with a managed transition from print to digital collecting, but with the default position remaining print. 

Television: To record and deliver access to representative content from all television news channels available free-to-air in UK from 2010 onwards, while connecting to historical television news archives.

Radio: To capture through off-air recording a substantial proportion of the UK’s radio news output as part of an emerging national radio archive offering, while continuing to preserve and make accessible heritage radio collections. 

Web: To capture selected news-based sites crawled on a high-frequency basis, as well as an annual UK web crawl, including multimedia content as far as possible; to capture selected examples of news-based social media.

Other media: To collect and connect to a range of content beyond the traditional understanding of what constitutes news, testing the viability of such an extension of service through pilot projects.

By 2017 we will aim to have achieved the following main goals:

The acquisition of 400,000 additional newspapers (individual issues), for which the annual intake in 2017 will be 25% digital, with an ‘iconic’ 5% collected in both print and digital forms.

A 5% fall in newspaper intake by reducing the number of heavily advertising-based titles.

A critical mass of digital news content across different media, including 30M digitised newspaper pages, 100,000 television news recordings, 100,000 radio news recordings, 1.5M news web pages, and connection to 3M news records from external sources.

An increased number of partners (and content made available through partners).

New research outputs based on interlinked news media resources.

Increased citations of audio-visual news media in scholarly publications.

Recognition by academic researchers, creatives, family historians and the news industry of the Newsroom as essential to the discovery, understanding and reuse of news content.

Exeterdaily

Over 500 UK news websites are being archived on a daily or weekly basis under the new non-print Legal Deposit regulations introduced in 2013, including online-only news publications such as the Exeter Daily.

A sense of the now

These four statements represent our overall vision for news at the British Library - the world of news research that we want to encourage. 

A British Library news collection and service that is not constrained by one form but embraces all the different news media, created through a combination of legal deposit, voluntary deposit and connecting to content both licensed and shared with strategic partners.

The British Library becomes a news centre, serving scholarly, commercial and personal researchers, both onsite and remote.

A resource discovery mechanism that opens up the Library's news and news-related digital content through cross-media searching, encourages searching across other news collections, and has a set of tools to encourage innovative thinking and creative re-use, leading to new kinds of research questions.

A model for the presentation of current and historical news media that transmits to users a sense of the 'now' at any time in the past, expressed in the research experience, exhibitions, publications and in public understanding of the Library itself as playing a fundamental role in the understanding of British society.

That 'sense of the now' is key. It represents the urge we all feel to keep up with the news every day, if we want to belong. But it is also what makes yesterday's news so compelling to anyone seeking a connection with the past - from the academic to the family history researcher, from the journalist to the creative artist in search of inspiration. That is what is so exciting about news archives. We turn to a record of the past, and because we have chosen to look at it, it comes back to life - it is news once more.

This post summarises our news content strategy for 2014-2017. We welcome any comments you may have about it.

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.

 

04 April 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 12

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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.  

Bernardshaw

From The Poke via @jameshoggarth

45 local news stories that rocked the world: It started with Patrick Smith at Buzzfeed - now headlines from UK regional newspapers are fast becoming an Internet cult. The Poke collect 45 that show just why we love local newspapers so.

Against beautiful journalism: Thought-provoking article from Felix Salmon at the Reuter blog, who argues against the over-designed nature of some (mostly American) news sites. "Today, when you read a story at the New Republic, or Medium, or any of a thousand other sites, it looks great; every story looks great. Even something as simple as a competition announcement comes with a full-page header and whiz-bang scrollkit graphics. The result is a cognitive disconnect..."

How 3 publishers are innovating with online video: Journalism.co.uk looks at how Huffington Post, the Washington Post and BuzzFeed are taking different approaches to using video, as discussed at the FT Digital Media conference.

Harry Chapman Pincher: Perhaps the best-named journalist ever, certainly one of the most famous living British journalists, Chapman Pincher has turned 100 years old and is still writing. Nick Higham at BBC News profiles the man who became legendary for his espionage scoops.

Safeguarding the “first rough draft of history”: How pleasant to have a history of newspapers (with thank yous to the British Library for its newspaper preservation work from Sylvia Morris at the excellent Shakespeare Blog.

In praise of the almost-journalists: A fine piece by Dan Gillmor at Slate on the distinctive contribution to online news made by advocacy organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Cato Institute.

News Corp boss brands Washington Post journalists 'high priests': Not such good times for journalists of the old school. The Guardian reports how News Corp's Chief Executive Robert Thomson feels that the Washington Post's journalists have failed to embrace the transition to digital.

Apple Adds Talk Radio And News To iTunes Radio Starting With NPR: iTunes Radio gets its first non-music offering with this team up with NPR (National Public Radio), Techcrunch reports.

Journalists increasingly under fire from hackers, Google researchers show: ArsTechnica reports that news organisations are increasingly being targeted by state-sponsored hackers.

The Evolution of Automated Breaking News Stories: Is this the future of news? Technology Review reports on how a Google engineer has developed an algorithm, Wikipedia Live Monitor, that spots breaking news stories on the Web and illustrates them with pictures. Now it is tweeting them.

Debugging the backlash to data journalism: Data journalism has been all the rage, so inevitably there has been a backlash. Alexander Howard at Tow Center provides a good overview of the phenomenon, its strengths and its limitations.

Taming the news beast: The Newsroom blog goes to an International Society for Knowledge Orgaization event on news archives and news metadata, and comes back thoughtful.

London Live – capital's first dedicated TV channel – takes to the air: The Evening Standard-backed TV channel went live on March 31st. Meanwhile, Jim Waterson at BuzzFeed provides an entertaining history of the last time someone tried to launch a TV station called London Live.

The Guardian crowned newspaper of the year at Press Awards for government surveillance reports: Press Gazette names all the winners at the Press Awards. Meanwhile, former Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald has won the University of Georgia's McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage.

German officials ban journalist from naming his son #Wikileaks. No comment.

28 March 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 11

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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. 

  

Journalism matters: Mark Austin and Julie Etchingham of ITN; Christiane Amanpour from CNN, Mark Ferguson from Channel 7 (Australia) ; and Shiulie Ghosh of Al-Jazeera English participate in this 40-second video in support of the #FreeAJStaff campaign, protesting against EWgypt's placing in custody for the past three months of three Al Jazeera journalists for "spreading false news".

The LBC Leaders' Debate: It was fascinating to see the debate on immigration between the LibDems' Nick Clegg and UKIP's Nigel Farage, not for the topic but for how radio station LBC is pushing its brand. Recently launched as a national service, they broadcast the event live  on radio, with simulataneous video stream on the BBC News website, followed the moment it ended by the BBC News channel showing the debate with reaction afterwards. LBC's name was prominent, on the lecterns, the walls and in the name of the event itself. Look out for further LBC brand-building in the future, no doubt.

The Times 'moving towards profit' since paywall launch: Guess what, Times Newspapers has moved from a £72 million loss in 2009 to £6 million for trading year ending June 2013.

Will readers pay for journalists?: An interesting twist on the question of whether readers will pay for digital news content - American start-up news site The Beacon is asking its readers to sponsor a journalist for $75,000 for a year to report on the American prison system.

The problem with data journalism: The hot topic of the hour is data journalism. All well and good, says Allison Schrager at Quartz, but the problem with it is that it's not science. "Empirical researchers spend years learning how to apply statistics and countless hours dissecting data. And then even the most experienced, well-intentioned researcher might end up with biased results."

Facts are sacred: Meanwhile, this extract by Simon Rogers from his book Facts are Sacred, lists ten things that you should know about data journalism e.g. "It may be trendy but it's not new".

Before the "explanatory journalism" craze started to catch fire, there was Syria Deeply: The other, related journalism vogue is 'exploratory journalism'. Mathew Ingram at Gigaom tells the story of Lara Setrakian's topic-based site Syria Deeply to show how none of these ideas are new.

Reddit plans to offer embeds for breaking news discussions: Mashable reports that hugely popular 'notice board' site Reddit is planning to offer embeds for breaking news threads, something which could help news organisations tap into instant live blogs of newsworthy events. Could be big.

The week when Mick Jagger found the true cost of fame: Catherine Bennett at The Guardian muses on the papers' treatment of the L'Wren Scott suicide story, calls some of the coverage shameful (while repeating some of this) but says that it shouldn't be used as anrgument for curbs against the press.

London Live: The 24-hour entertainment TV channel for London, backed by The Evening Standard, goes live on March 31st, but its website is already active.

Checking out the NSB: This blog visits the British Library's vast Newspaper Storage Building at Boston Spa, and muses on robots, metadata, and what digital means.

As news reporters get measured by clicks, there are lessons to be learned from unlikely sources: Interesting piece from Poynter on page-view metrics and how the numbers can't determine what's journalistically important.

Trinity Mirror North East unveils plan for digital-first newsroom: The Newcastle and Teesside publisher's  new editorial structure, called Newsroom 3.1, will put digital first, print second, evidence of how newspapers are finding their audiences being drawn ever more to their websites. The Drum reports.

Twitter - hot damn!: Not everyone in the news world gets Twitter as yet. Jon Slattery tells them in detail why they should. "Not being on Twitter leaves print journalists as out of touch as the judge who asked: ‘Who are the Beatles?'".

Can Twitter hashtags work in print?: Talking of which, the Media Blog muses interestingly on how newspapers are introducing hashtags into print stories, and whether this has much of an impact at all.

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.

 

14 February 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 5

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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. 

Liberation

A note to the staff of Libération in France: Perhaps the most eye-catching news about news story of the week was the front page of French left-wing journal Libération, which was hijacked by staff protesting at the paper's shareholder group's plans to turn it into a social and cultural hub. Their call to be left alone to be a newspaper and to do journalism "couldn't be more wrong", according to Mathew Ingram.

17 Things That Would Only Get Reported In British Local Newspapers: Patrick Smith of Buzzfeed's regular round-ups of British local newspaper stories are always an irresistible treat. "Police launch appeal after mystery tea pot found near Cambridge ..."

News you can lose: Richard Sambrook on US cable TV news networks' strategy of diversifying programming to keep hold of shrinking audiences. " More and more, news channels will depend on dinosaurs and killer whales."

Georgia Henry obituary: The Guardian's deputy editor and creator of its Comment is Free section has been much mourned.

Iraqi newspaper bombed after Ayatollah caricature: Index on Censorship reports on the struggle to survive of the Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed independent newspaper.

You can see right through News Corp's transparency: Peter Preston analyses Mike Darcey of New UK's defence of pay walls and argues that one model does not fit all.

 

Europeana Newspapers: The portal for digitised European newspapers has produced a sassy promo video which shows just how inventive you can be in promoting newspaper archives for research.

Welsh Newspapers Online – 27 new publications: It's been a good week for newspaper archives. The National Library of Wales' Welsh Newspapers Online has added 27 new publications and now has over 630,000 pages from pre-1919 newspapers freely available.

125,000 extra pages now searchable on the British Newspaper Archive: In what has been a busy month for the BNA (which moved from Colindale to Boston Spa in January) they managed to add an extra 125,000 British Library newspaper pages to their online archive.

Periodicals return: The periodicals collection held at the (now closed) Colindale newspaper library was embargoed in June. From Monday February 17th it becomes available once more at the British Library's St Pancras site.

What is Google Newsstand and how can publishers make the most of it?: Press Gazette's Dominic Ponsford analyses Google's mobile app for news.

Video journalism: Former newsreel cameraman Terence Gallacher runs an excellent blog on the history of his profession. Here he asks whether camera operators have become journalists or the journalists become camera operators.

Why it matters that LBC is going national: LBC, the talk news radio station for London, went national on February 11th. Gillian Reynolds looks at why it's an important move.

07 February 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 4

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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.  

Graph
 

The year Facebook blew past Google: Peter Kafka notes how Facebook is now outstripping Google when its comes to referrals for Buzzfeed, which could have important implications for how web journalism works. Anyway, it's a great graph.

How I learned to stop worrying and love bite-sized news: Josh Stearns looks at short-form news services like Instafax, Circa and NowThis News and reckons they have their part to play in how we find news - "sometimes small pieces loosely joined can add up to more than the sum of their parts".

How the BBC and Guardian are innovating on Instagram: More on the use of Instagram by news outlets, with Rachel Bartlett reviewing Instafax and GuardianCam.

Help us improve the British Newspaper Archive: The BNA has a survey, asking you how you use the historical newspapers site and what you would like to see more of.

News Archive Connected Studio: Interesting things are being plotted at the BBC to open up its news archives. Peter Rippon reports on ways they might connected news archive to audiences.

UK Parliament considers allowing secret courts to issue orders to seize reporters' notebooks: The Deregulation Bill could lead to the seizure of journalists' notebooks, photographs and digital files in secret hearings, as opposed to open court as is the case now. Cory Doctorow is alarmed.

The secret to having a successful paywall around your news is simple - it's about community: Mathew Ingram looks at the success of Dutch crowdfunded journalism site De Correspondent, which is bringing in almost $2M per year in subscriptions.

News UK boss critical of Mail and measurement: It's been a week where those who see paywalls as the future of news journalism have been having their say. The Media Blog reports on Mike Darcey, CEO of News UK, criticising the Mail Online business model:

The Mail Online is the embodiment of the school of thought which says flooding the internet with tacky clickbait to attract huge audiences can be profitable while Darcey is clearly a man who believes in ringfencing smaller, more identifiable audiences behind paywalls, such as those imposed on The Sun and The Times.

Tim Franklin, incoming president of the Poynter Institute likewise praises the paywall models of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Have 24-hour news channels had their day?: This Guardian piece by Richard Sambrook and Sean McGuire makes some familiar arguments against 24-hour TV news (filling time when there is no news, becoming out-dated by social media, not really 'live' etc). Sky News' Adam Boulton tweeted angrily in response: "@sambrook's @mediaguardian blog on 24hr news: shoddy inaccurate generalizations timed for @SkyNews 25th but can hardly bear to mention us".

The Syrian opposition is disappearing from Facebook: Facebook's decision to shut down some pages of Syrian opposition has "dealt  significant blow to peaceful activists who have grown reliant on Facebook for communication and uncensored—if bloody and graphic—reporting on the war’s atrocities", reports Michael Pizzi at The Atlantic.

How do hyperlocals contribute to local democracy and what do they need?: Those watching new news trends in the UK are excited by the hyperlocal trend for community-based websites. The Creative Citizens project at at Cardiff University and Birmingham City University has launched a survey aiming to learn more about the pratice and needs of neighbourhood websites.

Over one million TV and radio programmes now available for education: Previously we used to be thrilled when thousands of items were released online - now everyone seems to deal in millions. So one million TV and radio programmes are now available from the UK higher education service BoB National, thanks to collaboration with the BBC. Not available to general users though, alas.

 

31 January 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 3

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Welcome to the third 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.  

EzraKleinCropped

Ezra Klein (Wikimedia Commons)

Vox is our next: Generating much discussion in America has been the move of celebrated journalist and political blogger Ezra Klein from the Washington Post to Vox Media with plans to develop a news site that (so far as one can tell from the sketchy ideas offered so far) will draw out the historical content behind news stories from content online. The New Yorker lauds the rise of the digital journalist (Klein is 29); the always interesting Mathew Ingram at Gigaom looks at the advertising model that could support it.

The newsonomics of why every seems to be starting a news site: Ken Doctor looks at the economics of why Klein and others are getting into the online news game and hiring journalists. Essentially the risks are high but the entry costs are low.

Q&A with newspaper researchers: Leon Saltiel: The latest in Europeana Newspapers' fine series of interviews with researchers using newspaper archives is with Leon Saltiel, who is researching World War Two in Thessaloniki

So much for 'news without the boring bits': Trinity Mirror's The People set up a Buzzfeed-style site with aim of publishing news without the boring bits and with ambition to be entirely funded by "native content". It lasted three months

You won’t believe why the Victoria Line is currently suspended: But Trinity Mirror's other Buzzfeed-style effort, UsVsTh3m is flourishing with such viral stories as fast-setting concrete in the signalling room holding up the Victoria Line

Introducing #GuardianCam on Instagram: Guardian journalists will be taking over its Instagram account each week to showcase stories from around the world

World War One: The British Library has published its World War One resource, based around key themes from the war, and amply illustrated with over 500 digital objects, including manuscripts, illustrations, photographs, maps, letters and newspapers

LBC to go national: On 11 February LBC will go national and become the UK's first commercial news talk radio station.

What is the news? Philosopher Alain de Botton argues in this video (and in a Newsnight discussion)  that the news is a "powerful questionable art form" the comprehension of which needs to be taught in schools (thereby annoying the media studies community who are dedicated to doing just that). De Botton has a book out on on the theme, and Ian Jack's review in The Guardian is scathing ("A kind of fluent ignorance is at work that might be innocence in disguise." Ouch)

Cardiff Uni to run free online community journalism course: Hyperlocal news sites now being all the range, Cardiff are going to offer a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in community journalism

 

Facebook announces Paper: Anyone can publish their own version of what's news, and attractively so. On February 3 Facebook launches the nostalgically-named Paper, a customisable news reader app similar to Flipboard

The News Academy: News UK (News International as was) has launched the News Academy to train teenagers keen to become journalists

A faster, easier way: Twitter, CNN and Dataminr are working together to develop an alert system for journalists, reports the Twitter blog

Hacking trial: The sorrier side of the news was laid bare once again with the evidence supplied by self-confessed phone hacking journalist Dan Evans, formerly of the Sunday Mirror and News of the World. Even the "office cat" knew about what was going on, he claims

Broke French crime reporter turns to hold ups: The news about news story of the week has to be the tale of Jean-Michel, the former crime reporter who tried to turn his knowledge to bad use when he turned criminal (unsuccessfully). The story was reported by his former newspaper, naturally.