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26 posts categorized "Social media"

25 July 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 28

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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.

Bukmap

 

Map showing evidence of Buk surface-to-air missile position in Donetsk region of Ukraine, with geo-located links, created by Storyful

How social sleuthing uncovered evidence of surface-to-air missile systems in eastern Ukraine: News about news has been dominated this week by the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine. This powerful blog post from the NewsCorp-owned verification service Storyful shows how effective it has been at analysing information from social networks, YouTube and other sources to get at the truth behind the claims and counter-claims.

There have been a number of other pieces this week which focus on the verification of information, particularly images and videos, with a focus on Ukraine. The title of Julie Posetti's piece for PBS MediashiftWhen Good People Share Bad Things: The Basics of Social Media Verification picks up on the worry people have about sharing false information and explains the verifcation process, which involves the source of a piece of content, and the content itself. Jihii Jolly at Columbia Journalism Review offers help  on How to check if that viral video is true, steessing that the rise in user-generated contents makes it imperative for journalists to question before using. Kevin Loker at American Press Institute gives us How to find out if a photo your friend posted online is fake, and at Gigaom Mathew Ingram says Want to help fact-check breaking news like the Malaysian airplane disaster? Here's how and where you can do it, providing a handy a guide to verification communities and tools.

Graphic content: when photographs of carnage are too upsetting to publish: Roger Tooth, The Guardian's Head of Photography, explains the decision-making process behind selection or otherwise of news images from stories such as Gaza and MH17. (Warning: graphic content).

RT “Covers” the Shooting Down of MH17: Adam Holland at The Interpreter (an online journal presented translated material from the Russian press and blogosphere) offers a scathing analysis of how RT, aka Russia Today, the state-owned TV channel, reacted to the downing of MH17.

Russia Today London correspondent resigns in protest at 'disrespect for facts' over Malaysian plane crash: Press Gazette piece on Sarah Firth who declared that RT's coverage of the air crash was the last straw. "[I]t’s the level of disrespect for the facts that really bugs me." she says. RT commented:

Sara has declared that she chooses the truth; apparently we have different definitions of truth. We believe that truth is what our reporters see on the ground, with their own eyes, and not what’s printed in the morning London newspaper. In our coverage, RT, unlike the rest of the media, did not draw conclusions before the official investigation has even begun. We show all sides of the story, even if everyone else has already decided which side is to blame.

From outrage to recrimination: How the media covered the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: Chris Boffey at The Drum looks at how the British news media reacted to the immediate news of the MH17 crash.

MH17, my error of judgment: Sky News' Colin Brazier has been roundly condemned for a live news broadcast, lunchimte July 20th, when he briefly looked through the content of the luggage of one of the victims of MH17. Here he apologies via The Guardian in a sincere and interesting piece of how a journalist faces up to horror, while live on air.

South Sudan humanitarian crisis: The poor media coverage highlights the flaws in news gathering: Perhaps the most powerful piece about news production this week has come from Ian Burrell at The Independent, looking at how the absence of media coverage in South Sudan has had a tragic impact on people's lives:

The tragedy of South Sudan highlights a number of basic flaws in modern news. Despite the breadth of online information, the major news providers still play an essential role in bringing humanitarian stories to the public’s attention. It is the misfortune of the starving and homeless in South Sudan that their agony coincides with the appalling turmoil in Syria, Gaza and Ukraine.

Minus proper archives, news outlets risk losing years of backstories forever: Another essential read, this time from Columbia Journalism Review, looking at the possibility and dangers of losing news archives in the digital area.

The 'Fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood’s extraordinary career: The career of The Sun and The News of the World's notorious entrapment specialist, Mazeer Mahmood - the 'fake Sheikh' - may have come to an end after the collapse of the trial of singer Tulisa Contostavlos. Ian Burrell tells his story.

High value, low income: report reveals trends in hyperlocal publishing: A handy summary from Journalism.co.uk of the key points from the recent academic report The State of Hyperlocal Community News in the UK.

Readers, viewers, browsers: it's time to count them all and unify the ratings: Peter Preston at The Observer calls for the unification of audience research.

Ashley Highfield - interview: InPublishing interviews Ashley Highfield, CEO of regional newspaper publisher Johnson Press, on the digital revolution he is bringing about.

I don’t want cannabilisation of what is our biggest source of revenue (print). The great thing about the regional press is it’s not like the Guardian where people stop buying print and consume online. Actually we have pretty much created a new audience online who never bought us in print.

Newspapers begin to challenge broadcasters in video storytelling: Douglas Grant at World News Publishing Focus explains how newspapers are marking their mark with online video.

Reddit Live is now official, lets anyone create their own breaking news live blog: This could could be a major step in the growth of alternative news publishing. The hugely popular social networking and news service Reddit has launched Reddit Live, which lets anyone create their own breaking news service (including tweets, videos etc).

The Sun says farewell to Wapping with special souvenir staff issue: The staff of The Sun left Wapping on 18 July, as they set up home in London Bridge. Roy Greenslade looks at the souvenir issue produced for staff to mark the momentous occasion.

04 July 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 25

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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. 

Peston_blog

Forgotten, but not gone

Google Removes Robert Peston's BBC Article Because Someone Wanted It 'Forgotten': The European court decision allowing individual to request that Google remove links to historical articles which have personal information that they would rather was forgotten may have backfired in this case. The request to have a 2007 BBC News article on former Merrill Lynch boss Stan O' Neal by economics editor Robert Peston taken down has caused the article in question to go viral, as Huffington Post reports. On the same subject, David Meyer at Gigaom looks at other examples of news stories that have been taken down and asks Why is Google really removing links to news articles in Europe?

Former Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan named most influential UK journalist on social media: Press Gazette's Social Media Awards have named @PiersMorgan as the most influential UK journalist on social media. The former Daily Mirror editor was hotly followed in the top 50 names by @CaitlinMoran, @PaulWaugh, @JohnRentoul and @fleetstreetfox.

How to build a healthy news diet: Columbia Journalism Review draws an intriguing parallel between food consumption and news consumption. There's too much to eat so we get overweight; there's too much information out there so we get overwhelmed and fail to show discrimination. But what is a 'healthy' news item?

Welcome: our website is now open to the world: Good news for international journalism students - the BBC's College of Journalism site is now free to use for anyone worldwide (previously there was a paywall for non-UK users), at least for a trial 12-month period.

Once humbled, but now risen: the Murdochs march ahead: How badly do you think things have been going for the Murdochs recently. Peter Preston looks at the numbers - three years ago News Corps' value was $35Bn. Today it is $88Bn.

Attorney General backs down on plan to censor news archives to avoid contempt risk: Attorney General Dominic Grieve has withdrawn clauses in the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill that would have given him powers to order the removal of online archive news stories in the run-up to a criminal trial, reports Press Gazette.

AP will use robots to write some business stories: The future is now. Poynter reports that AP is to start using automation technology to produce stories about earnings reports. "Instead of providing 300 stories manually, we can provide up to 4,400 automatically for companies throughout the United States each quarter", says the managing editor.

Newssources

Source: Ofcom data, Guardian visualisation

 

How popular are the internet and apps for news consumption?: Guardian DataBlog looks behind the figures from the recent Ofcom report into news consumption in the UK, whose headline finding was that 41% of UK adults get their news from the internet or apps, just ahead of those who do so through newspapers (40%). Where is Mail Online on the above graphic? Is it not viewed as a news source?

In Philadelphia, the Internet Archive is assembling a new way to monitor campaigns on TV: The Internet Archive is documenting congressional elections in Philadelphia through the mass capture of television broadcasts and web sites. Nieman Journalism Lab reports: 

The goal: to provide data for journalists and researchers interested in tracking the media landscape and understanding how political messages — and dollars — move through the system. Using text from closed captioning as well as metadata organized by volunteer viewers, the Philadelphia archive will be searchable by region, station, and date, as well as by campaign issue or ad sponsor.

Citizen journalism pioneer Brown Moses is launching a site for crowdsourced reporting: Brown Moses (aka British blogger Elliot Higgins) has built up great expertise and reputation through his sifting of social media and YouTube to concover information on the war in Syria. Now he's planning a site to be called Bellingcat which will be a home for other citizen journalists, with tools to teach them his trade.

News reference workshops: The British Library is setting up a series of regular workshops for anyone who wants to know how to use our news research services. They're free, and we hope useful.

Why is this lying bastard lying to me?: This blog traces the history of the news interview from the mid-19th century through to Twitter.

'A concrete box full of stories...a building packed with life' - Yorkshire Post's Leeds HQ is razed to the ground: Jill Parkin, a former Yorkshire Post writer, writes wistfully about the demolishing of the newspaper's old home and a lost era of newspaper production.

On-the-run prisoner contacts newspaper over ‘mistake’: We all want our newspapers to tell the truth, even if we are a prisoner on the run contacting the Sheffield Star to tell them they have got details of our home area wrong. Hold the Front Page has the heartening story.

02 July 2014

Why is this lying bastard lying to me?

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Jeremy Paxman, who recently hosted the BBC's Newsnight for the last time, has cited the words attributed to Times foreign correspondent Louis Heren that make up the title of this post as inspiration for his method as an interviewer. It says a great deal about the news interview as it is now understood, and the function of the news producer. News may in part be about holding those in power to account, but should its starting point be the belief that its subjects are liars? How did the news interview become so inquisitorial, and will it remain so?

 Newsnight

Jeremy Paxman interviewing Michael Howard, Newsnight, tx. 13 May 1997

It is interesting that in the same week Paxman stood down, with many commentators discussing his contribution to the art of interviewing, some of the first ever filmed interviews were honoured with an inscription on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register. The Hepworth Cinema Interviews are a series of 36 filmed interviews with UK public figures (Lloyd George, Herbert Asquith, Bonar Law and others) made by film producer Cecil Hepworth in 1916. The subjects were invited to give comments on the war and what would follow after it. This was the era of silent films, so the subjects mouth their answers to the camera, with their words being reproduced through intertitles. There is no onscreen interviewer - these are just statements made to the camera. Rather than being any sort of radical development, they are interviews in the tradition of nineteenth century newspaper interviews - pronouncements from the elite, with the media serving as the willing vehicles for such pronouncements.

Lloydgeorgewords

Lloyd George's words as intertitles from the Hepworth Cinema Interviews, courtesy of National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales

Interviews in newspapers are generally accepted to have appeared in the USA in the 1860s and in the UK in the 1880s, where they were often viewed - often with suspicion - as an American innovation. The American journalist James Gordon Bennett is credited in some quarters with having 'invented' the newspaper interview in 1836 with his verbatim transcript of a conversation he allegedly had with Rosina Townsend, a witness in the trial of the murderer of a New York prostitute Helen Jewett, which was published in the New York Herald. Other cite the interview conducted by Horace Greeley with Brigham Young, leader of the Mormon religion, and published in the New York Daily Tribune of 20 August 1859 as being the first interview as we would now recognise it.

NYtribune

Part of Horace Greeley's interview with Brigham Young, New York Daily Tribune, 20 August 1859, p. 5, from Chronicling America

But newspaper interviews were not 'invented' - they grew out particular changes to the medium. The process of interviewing is as old as journalism itself, so one can trace it back to the 17th century at least. Journalists find the information they require often by asking someone questions, and then using the replies they receive as the substance of their report. That is interviewing, and Daniel Defoe employed it as a news reporter for his Weekly Review much as today's journalists do 400 years later. Interviewing is integral to how news is understood - see how often news readers on TV and radio ask questions of reporters, experts and other interviewees, extracting what we need to know through that dialogue.

The interview as a formal newspaper feature emerged in the mid-19th century, as newspapers turned from being vehicles for partisan standpoints to broadly factual reporting. This included the use of direct quotation. The evidence became all the more important, and what better evidence could there be than the words spoken by the subjects themselves, in answer to the questions put by trustworthy journalists? Of course, it was also part of that process by which "news gathering turned into news making", as Daniel Boorstin writes in The Image, where he labels the interview as one of his 'pseudo-events' - events artificially created in order that they may be reported. The interview is not what happened but rather what the media has caused to happen.

Lily_langtry

Interview with Lily Langtry (in which she complains about being interviewed so often), Pall Mall Gazette, 29 October 1892 p. 3. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

However, the nineteenth century newspaper interview was a far cry from the investigative and combative interviews of today. The interviews that British journalists such as William Howard Russell (The Times), George Augustus Sala (Daily Telegraph) and W.T. Stead (Pall Mall Gazette) produced were the pronouncements of the great and the celebrated who had reason to use the press for self-promotion. Stead undoubtedly helped establish the interview as a standard newspaper device by his enthusiastic adoption of the form, part of the 'New Journalism' revolution of the 1880s which placed great emphasis on the personal, through devices such as the interview. As well as his own interviews with figures such as Tsar Alexander III and Pope Leo XIII, Stead employed Hulda Friederichs as 'chief interviewer' at the Pall Mall Gazette from 1882 (women journalists were considered to have a particular aptitude for interviewing). Unfortunately interviewers are seldom named in newspapers from this period, making it difficult to trace the work of particular reporters.

Interviewing

The subjects of late nineteenth century newspaper interviews give their opinion on the experience in this piece from Pall Mall Gazette, 31 December 1890, p. 3. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Interviews in newspapers in the late 19th century tended towards celebrities from the world of entertainment. Politicians were wary of the practice, and saw little advantage in indulging requests to give interviews, when what they had to say could be heard on public platforms or read in Hansard. As A.J. Balfour says in the quote above, "this channel of communication must be rarely required by English politicians considering the great increase in platform speaking which has taken place during the last twenty years." Instead the interview became primarily the feature of journals such as the 'Illustrated Interviews' in George Newnes' Strand Magazine - light reading for those who wanted some personal insights into the lives of the famous. Interviews in newspapers were to become more searching as the new century began, particularly in America, but it would be new technologies that would help transform them.

Phonograph

The first sound interview (probably). Interview by Phonograph with Edison agent Colonel George Gouraud, as recorded by the Pall Mall Gazette, 24 July 1888, p. 1. Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

A startlingly early intimation of how thing could change occured in July 1888 when the UK agent for Thomas Edison's Phonograph sound recording machine was 'interviewed' by the Pall Mall Gazette, boasting of how a sound recording would provide a 'faithful report of the conversation' (intimating that not all newspaper interviews were so faithful to the words spoken). This was in all probablity the first sound interview, but although the Phonograph and later technologies such as the Dictaphone were used to record famous voices and as dictation devices in the early 1900s, it would be decades before they were adopted for news reporting.

Gouraud

Colonel Gouraud (left) being interviewed by an unidentified journalist from the Pall Mall Gazette, with the Phonograph recording the meeting, July 1888. From British Library Sound Archive collection.

Projected film appeared in 1896, but it proved a medium ill-suited to interviews. Attempts were rare and seldom successful, even after films gained sound in the late 1920s, with the few efforts from the cinema newsreels being short statements delivered in stilted fashion that offered little advance on the Hepworth interviews of 1916. What gave the news interview new life was radio, which began in the early 1920s. This gave the interview greater credibility, through the chance it gave the public to hear the subject's voice, through the live nature of radio, and because the interviewer's questions gave the sense of a process of interrogation, a driving towards the truth. BBC radio interviews of the 1920s-50s were seldom adversarial, being more in the way of civilised conversations, but the greater power had now been offered to the public to judge what was delivered to them, be it the words spoken or the ways in which those words were spoken. 

It took live television to make the news interview come into its own, a process not for delivering statements but instead a contest for the truth. 

 

Leslie Mitchell interviewing Anthony Eden for a Conservative party political broadcast, BBC tx. 16 October 1951. From University of Sheffield's Department of Journalism Studies' YouTube channel

Television's first news-related interviews were a disappointment. The BBC's Leslie Mitchell's pre-planned interview with prime minister Anthony Eden for a Conservative party election broadcast in 1951 has become notorious for its stilted obsequiousness, even if it was viewed as a technical success at the time. Mitchell asks:

Good evening. I would just like to say that, as an interviewer, and as I what I hope you will believe to be an unbiased member of the electorate, I'm most grateful to Mr Anthony Eden for inviting me to cross-question him on the present political issues ... Well now, Mr Eden, with your very considerable experience of foreign affairs, it's quite obvious that I should start by asking you something about the international situation today, or perhaps you would prefer to talk about home. Which is it to be?

Supine as this was, it did show at least an understanding of how television was ideally suited to the question-and-answer format, counterbalancing formality with informality. The first step on the road from here to Paxman came in 1955, when Robin Day brought a new forthrightness to television interviewing at ITN, two notable highlights being his sharp questioning of President Nasser in 1955 and his interview with prime minister Harold Macmillan in 1958, where what might now seem a fairly tame question asking about criticism that had been made of the foreign secretary Selwyn Lloyd was seen by some as shockingly intrusive, not least because you could see Macmillan thinking about his answer before delivering it. The interview was letting the viewer be the judge, exposing what might be the truth between the lines.

The adversarial quality of the television news interview grew throughout the 60s and 70s, in tandem with the emergence of a less deferential, more determinedly democratic society. Television was becoming the forum for public debate. The medium delighted in getting the upper hand, as demonstrated by David Frost's interrogation of the fraudster Emil Savundra and the revelations that he coaxed out of Richard Nixon. The goal of the interview came to be the revelation of the truth, hoping by a process of seeking out weak points to lead the subject into revealing something they would rather not have made public. The interviewee was no longer someone who had deigned to share some selected information with us all. They were now lying bastards, and their lies had to be exposed.

Interviews on radio likewise became less polite and increasingly forensic. BBC programmes launched in late 1960s/early 70s such as The World at One, Analysis and It's Your Line (a programme hosted by Robin Day, in which the public phoned in questions to ask of the interviewee) made the interview central to a process of burrowing beneath the headlines to uncover what was really happening. The Today programme moved away from its cosy beginnings to become the programme opinion makers had to listen to and had to appear on. This was particularly on account of presenter Brian Redhead's refusal to doff his hat to anyone in power, as in his famous response  (in a 1987 interview) to  Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson accusing him of bias through being a supporter of the Labour party:

Do you think we should have a one-minute silence now in this interview, one for you to apologise for daring to suggest that you know how I vote, and secondly perhaps in memory of monetarism, which you've now discarded?

Politicians accountable to an electorate had little choice but to appear before the cameras and microphones, but as television became bolder so they responded through increasingly sophisticated media training. The art of not answering, or of turning the interview to your advantage arose. Margaret Thatcher was well trained in interviewing techniques and image management, through the guidance of former TV producer Gordon Reece, but it was the Labour government of 1997 that turned control of message into an artform (guided by another former TV producer, Peter Mandelson).

A power game arose between politicians and the news media over the communication and interpretation of the message, with the interview as the battleground. There was an increased desire on the part of the media to use the interview to extract revelations, matched by an increased determination from their subjects to reveal no more than they had been instructed to reveal. Sharp interviewers such as Paxman for Newsnight and John Humphrys for Today gained praise for their tough questioning and refusal to be hoodwinked, but the praise was sometimes more for the stance than any illumination obtained about the subject discussed. Paxman's celebrated 1997 interview with Michael Howard in which the interviewer asked the same question twelve times did little to inform its audience, for whom the point that the subject was not going to answer the question could have been made after two or three attempts.

Campbell_v_snow

Jon Snow and Alastair Campbell, Channel 4 News tx. 27 June 2003

Interviews turned into theatre, perhaps most famously when Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's Director of Communications, turned up unannounced at Channel 4 News on 27 June 2003 and was interviewed by Jon Snow on the Iraq 'dodgy dossier'. The result was a tour de force on both sides, a great interview of sorts but primarily a startling display of political passion. Politicians understandably prefer softer rides  - Margaret Thatcher's interviewer of choice was Radio 2's Jimmy Young, for example. Equally, one of the marks of a successful politician has come to be how well they can deal with the toughest interviews. It is a trial of strength, as much as anything.

Interviews on television and radio flourish on non-news programmes of course. From Face to Face to Parkinson, to Piers Morgan's Life Stories there has been a consistent focus on celebrity and the personal revelation, teased out through a bonding between interviewer and subject. Interviews continue to be a mainstay of newspapers, or their associated magazines, where some of the dangers inherent in a live interview are lost and both sides have greater control over what is said. The interviewee will have their press adviser by their side, determining what can or cannot be covered; the interviewer can fill out the verbal testimony with background impressions, barbed or otherwise. Both sides have control, though it is still a battlefield, a game of attack and defence.

Hardtalk

HARDtalk interviews, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n13xtmdc/clips

A good example of the news interview programme of today is the BBC World series HARDtalk, first broadcast in 1997 with Tim Sebastian as the interviewer and now Stephen Sackur asking the questions, is a model of how two intelligent minds, with good preparation, can discuss issues of the day in a form that is a genuine questing for the truth. This is not news manufactured as pseudo-event - it is rational and vital extension of what is news. Nor is it a question of exposing liars (usually) - it is using the time-honoured process of question and answer to come to an understanding. 

Biden

Tweets from a Twitter interview with US Vice President Joe Biden, 26 January 2012

Where next for the news interview? HARDtalk is a good programme, but quite traditional in format. Newspaper interviews continue, but seem more about drawing out character than setting the news agenda. The online world is developing new ways in which subjects can be interviewed, which involved the general public much more, such as Twitter discussions, while BuzzFeed's interview of 29 May 2014 with Ed Miliband (the one in which he said it was a good idea not to read the newspapers) transfers the magazine-style interview with illustrations to a web format in a way that resfreshes the interview form. Al Jazeera's web/TV programme hybrid The Stream is an example of how engagement through interviews is being adapted for a multi-platform world, and television interviews can feature questions posted by social media (see, for example, Glenn Greenwald's interview for NBC on 18 May 2014). The growth of citizen journalism may make anyone into a potential interviewer, with all of the hazards as well as the advantages that suggests.

In such a world, the traditional confrontation between interviewer and interviewee begins to look like it belongs to another age, an age when current affairs television (and radio) served as the forum for public engagement with the issues of the hour. That forum is increasingly located elsewhere, and the interview will have to adapt accordingly if it is to continue to be meaningful. It may not be so combative or theatrical as it has been in the past; it will undoubtedly be more social. It will be less constrained by space (as is the case with newspapers) or time (as is the case with television and radio). Consequently it may either be freer in form or hampered by a lack of discipline. The questions demanding answers remain the same; just who will be asking them looks certain to change.

More information

  • The Hepworth Cinema Interviews are held by the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales - a press release on the UNESCO recognition is here, and a catalogue record for the films is here
  • Michael Cockerell's Live from Number 10: The Inside Story of Prime Ministers and Television (1988) is insightful and full of great anecdotes and quotations (such as the Eden-Mitchell interview quoted above)
  • On interviewing in Victorian newspapers, see Lucy Brown, Victorian News and Newspapers (1985) and Laurel Brake, Marysa Demoor (eds.), Dictionary of Nineteenth Century Journalism (Gent/London: Academia Press, British Library, 2009)
  • The Pall Mall Gazette for the period 1865-1900 has been digitised and is available online via the British Newspaper Archive
  • On Hulda Friedrichs and other women journalists of the nineteenth century, see F. Elizabeth Grey (ed.), Women in Journalism at the Fin de Siècle: 'Making a Name for Herself' (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)
  • On the technique of modern interviews, see Steven Clayman and John Heritage, The News Interview: Journalists and Public Figures on the Air (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002)
  • The Radio Times has a list with links of 'the greatest broadcast interviews of all time', including Campbell v Snow, Paxman v Howard, Frost v Nixon, and John Nott walking out on Robin Day

13 June 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 22

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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.

Antisocial

Stop sharing this photograph of antisocial newspaper readers: This much retweeted and shared photograph of a train carriage full of newspaper readers has been viewed by many as a comment on an anti-social past age. Medium makes a strong argument why this is a complete misunderstanding of how a newspaper is consumed.

... what you are seeing in that picture of “antisocial” people reading newspapers is actually an eminently social activity: citizens keeping themselves informed so they can participate in the civic discourse of their community.

Enabling access to digitised historic newspapers: We held a Europeana Newspapers event here at the British Library, on assorted issues relating to the digitisation of newspapers, with interesting contrasts between traditional browsing and big data analytical approaches, and between free and paid access services. The link is to a Storify collection of tweets, links and slideshows from the day (fun to put together - will be doing more of these).

Broadcasting D-Day: The BBC's recreation of radio broadcasts from D-Day by using digitised scripts and actors (Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Jones, Patrick Stewart) made a powerful impact and was a fitting tribute on the 70th anniversary of the landings. The BBC radio scripts come from the British Library, and this post gives the background.

 

Digital News Report 2014: Eagerly devoured and much commented upon has been the latest annual Reuters Institute Digital News Report, the result of a survey of digital news consumption in UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Denmark and Finland. Among the key findings are:

  • The use of smartphones and tablets has jumped significantly in the past year, with fewer people using their computers for news
  • More than a third of online news users across all countries (39%) use two or more digital devices each week for news and a fifth (20%) now say their mobile phone is their primary access point
  • US social sharing news sites like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed are beginning to make inroads around the world, with new formats and a fresh tone of voice aimed at younger people
  • Even so, traditional brands remain strong in most markets, with cross-platform newspaper reach averaging 75% in most countries
  • The number of people paying for digital news (11% average) has remained stable over the past 12 months, although there is a significant switch to more valuable ongoing digital subscription in most countries 
  • Of those paying for news in all countries, 59% are paying for an ongoing subscription (43% 2013). Of those who are not paying, 15% say they are likely to pay in the future
  • Facebook is by far the most important network for news everywhere
  • Although Twitter is widely used in the US, Spain, and the UK, it is far less influential in many other European countries. Google+ is emerging as increasingly important for news, along with messaging application WhatsApp

Robert Peston’s speech: Hotly discussed all week has been Robert Peston's British Journalism Review Charles Wheeler lecture, where he queries James Harding's statement (given in his WT Stead lecture at the British Library), "I think this is the most exciting time to be a journalist since the advent of television". Peston is not so sanguine, seeing threats in online culture, reader power, and the power of the public relations industry. He concludes:

...we don’t yet have what you might call a stable ecosystem in news. The poll-tax funded BBC is one kind of news-media model. The loss-making Guardian, funded by vast private-equity capital gains, is another. The Daily Mail another still. And Quartz, Huffington Post and BuzzFeed something different again. There is diversity – which all ecologists would tell you is vital to long-term survival. But there is also pollution, from a dangerous elision between news that pays and news that matters.

Why would anyone want to be a journalist?: But then there's Sarah Hartley at Contributoria, who speaks to several journalists about the hazards and frustrations of their occupation, and finds the answer to her question in these words from photographer Giles Duley (a triple-amputee after stepping on an IED in Afghanistan):

It’s about storytelling for me. There are these incredible stories out there and I think I follow a tradition that started around camp fires, in caves around ten thousands of years ago and there’s an innate need for people to tell stories and to hear stories and I just love being part of that tradition and so I’ll carry on doing it.

The Sun Launches A £4.2 Billion Marketing Campaign?: The Sun is delivering a free special World Cup issue to 22 million UK homes over a 48-hour period (avoiding Hillsborough). Chris Brace at the Brown Moses blog notes that the giveway lacks the imprint that identifies the publication as a newspaper. The fine for breaching this legal requirement can be up to £200 per copy. 200 x 22M = £4.4Bn. That's a quite fine...

Not Everyone Is Happy About The Sun’s “This Is Our England” Front Page: Patrick Smith at Buzzfeed rounds up some less than complimentary reactions to the great free Sun giveaway. There's even a @PostTheSunBack campaign.

Internet not responsible for dying newspapers, new study finds: Riding against the general trend of argument is a paper by University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professor Matthew Gentzkow, which says that comparisons between the internet and newspaper are based on some false assumptions. ScienceDaily summarises these.

A year on Guardian continues to face derision from Fleet Street rivals over Edward Snowden revelations: Press Gazette reviews the opinions expressed about Edward Snowden in other British newspapers, which are distinctly unimpressed.

Time Inc. Has a Big Problem - So Does Digital Journalism: Derek Thompson at The Atlantic feels that the future looks bright for digital journalism as a product, but dim for large-scale digital journalism as a business.

 

Victorian Meme Machine: Bob Nicholson of Edge Hill University is one of two winners of our BL Labs competition for innovative ideas to use digital collections. His Victorian Meme Machine will create an extensive database of Victorian jokes, drawn from newspapers etc, and pair them with an appropriate image drawn from BL and other digital collections. 

Annotating the news: Intriguing piece by Jihii Jolly for Columbia Journalism Review on student news literacy and annotation tools.

The BBC was impervious to the launch of Sky News. Now they have to take notice: Ian Burrell at The Independent interviews Sky News editor John Ryley, who is full of plans, is disparagaing of ITV's attitude towards news, and states firmly: “The future for news is on mobile.”

European newspapers search for ways to survive digital revolution: A Guardian survey of how newspapers in Spain, France and Germany are struggling (belatedly) to find ways to make money as print sales plummet.

16 Pictures Of Beyoncé Where She’s Not Sinking In Quicksand: The Onion has launched Clickhole, its parody site for 'clickbait' viral sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy. Not super-funny yet, but we have hope.

Why banish words from the front page?: The sharply opinionated Grey Cardigan on The Spin Alley blog is critical of sloppy front page design in some UK regional newspapers, and thoughtful on the reasons why.

Newspaper printed with ink that repels mosquitoes: This is such a heartening story - a Sri Lankan newspaper has come up with Mawbima Mosquito Repellent Paper, printed using bug-repelling ink, as part of campaign to help prevent the spread of Dengue fever. Probably a bit of a preservation challenge though...

Chatting with bots: How Slack is changing how newsrooms talk amongst themselves: Nieman Journalism Lab on Slack, a chat application being used in the newsrooms of  The Times, BuzzFeed, The Atlantic, Quartz, Slate, NBC News, The Guardian and more.

Kevin Turvey investigates ... the media: RIP Kevin Turvey, peerless investigative reporter from Reddtich, aka Rik Mayall.

06 June 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 21

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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.

Newspapers

http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/ed-miliband-on-the-road

Ed Miliband: “It’s Important To Follow Your Own Path”: Ed Miliband's comments on his news-reading in this Buzzfeed interview became the news about news debate of the week, in all the newspapers. None were impressed:

It’s always a good idea not to read the newspapers ...  I don’t read much British news. You get a lot of advice in the newspapers about what you should do. It’s much more important to follow your own path and stick to your own path...

 Instead he prefers to get his information for the US site RealClearPolitics. The St Pancras Intelligencer would of course advise us all to read newspapers, TV news and news websites. The more and diverse news sources the better.

Benedict Cumberbatch reads the 8am news from D-Day: On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, June 6th, Benedict Cumberbatch is reading out original BBC radio news scripts of those events for the Today programme. The scripts have been taken from the British Library's collection. More on this anon.

Sensitive Words: June 4th: The twenty-fifth anniversary of the protests at Tiananmen Square has been widely covered by the world's news media, and in China not at all. The US-based China Digital Times provides an instructive list of search terms which have been blocked on the Chinese search engine Weibo. They include 'today', 'candle', 'six+four' and '占占点' (tanks crushing a protestor illustrated through Chinese letters).

How Hostwriter wants to connect journalists around the world: Journalism.co.uk reports on Hostwriter, a new platform enabling journalists to contact each other for world-wide collaboration opportunities.

A retiree digitizes 27 million old newspaper pages in his livingroom (and libraries fight to catch up): Anyone who has gone searching for newspapers online is likely to stumbled across Tom Tryniski's remarkable one-man effort, Old Fulton New York Post Cards, a collection of 27 million American newspapers digitised by this one retiree. This piece from Reason.com is actually about Brooklyn Public Library's struggle to find the funding to digitise all 115 years of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle - something that Trykiski did solo in five months. In the end they got Newspapers.com to do it for them, without payment, with the BPL being offered for free on the Library's portal but also as part of Newspaper.com's subscription package of 3,000 newspaper titles. 

Telegraph increases operating profit to £61.1m and is UK's most profitable 'quality' newspaper: Press Gazette reports that the Telegraph Media Group increased operating profit by £2.7m to £61.2m in 2013, making it "by far the most profitable of the UK's 'quality' newspaper titles", despite falling print circulation. No information has been revealed as yet about the performance of its website metered paywall, introduced in April 2013.

BBC News Division To Cut 500 Jobs: Neil Midgley at Forbes scored a major news media news scoop with his revelation that the BBC is to cut between 475 and 500 jobs from News, with a further 75 to 85 from Radio. The BBC is now indicating that this could be true.

BBC receives almost 1,200 complaints over Ukip election coverage: Talking of whom, The Guardian reports on the barrage of complaints sayig that it had been biased in favour of UKIP and/or Nigel Farage during the European and local elections. It also received 149 complaints that it was biased against UKIP.

Who's behind that tweet?: An interesting piece from Nieman Journalism Lab on how seven news organisations make use of Twitter and Facebook: ABC News, AP, CNN, NBC News, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal,

Can anonymity app Whisper become a viable news source?: How can a mobile app that lets its lets users post messages anonymously work as a news source? DigiDay asks Whisper's Editor-in-Chief Neetzan Zimmerman.

Journalists face threats to press freedom across Europe: Roy Greenslade at The Guardian lists some of the examples of threats to press freedom across Europe, from information gathered by Index on Censorship and Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso.

Punch Historical Archive 1841–1992: This month Cengage Gale Learning will be publishing the Punch Historical Archive 1841-1992, containing every issue of the hugely influential British humour magazine Punch. It will be included in the Gale News Vault collection of historical newspapers, which is free onsite to all British Library users.

Newsquest launches responsive mobile platform for each of its 140 titles across England and Wales: Regional newspapers in the UK are getting that bit more responsvie and smart with Newsquest's launch of a mobile platform for such titles as Northern Echo, Southern Daily Echo and The Argus.

Virtual Newsroom: getting journalism done in a digital age: Sandra Oshiro writes for Poynter on the challenges and opportunities for a journalist working remotely for a news organisation.

Digital archive of Isle of Wights history goes online: The Isle of Wight County Press Archive has been completed, with more than 160,000 pages from 6,000 editions now online (as a subscription service) of the Isle of Wight County Press.

 

Stopfake

A Ukrainian factchecking site is trying to spot fake photos in social media — and building audience: Lydia Tomkiw at Nieman Journalism Lab has a good story on the success of Ukrainian fact-checking site StopFake. 30% of the donations the site receives come from Russia.

How the Kremlin is killing off the last of Russia’s independent media: Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen reports for Quartz on the impending death of Russia's independent news media.

Media outlets love to use citizen journalism, but don't like to say where they got it or how: Mathew Ingram at Gigaom summarises a Tow Center report on the use of user-generated content by TV news organisations, including Al Jazeera, BBC World, CNN and France 24. It gets used, but it doesn't always get acknowledged - for various reasons.

The Art and Science of Data-Driven Journalism: Another Tow Center report, introduced by Alexander Howard, on the important trend towards data journalism, with 14 findings, recommendations and predictions, among which are:

  • Being digital first means being data-centric and mobile-friendly
  • Expect more robojournalism, but know that human relationships and storytelling still matter
  • More journalists will need to study the social sciences and statistics

Publishers: There's money in your archives: They are still going on about the New York Times' Innovation report (see previous St Pancras Intelligencers). Here DigiDay focusses on the report's complaint that insufficient advantage was being made of the newspaper's archives. "There may not be much money in reselling archived content, but at least it’s not expensive to produce", says The Economist’s Paul Rossi.

The news in India is all about the news: Handy piece from Quartz on news publishing in India.

India has 12,511 daily newspapers, 161 million TV households, some 2,000 multiplexes and 214 million internet users, according to a report by consulting firm KPMG, which estimates the size of the industry more than 1 trillion rupees ($16.9 billion) in 2014.

Who's Going to Buy The New York Times's New Opinion App?: The New York Times has lunched a $6-a-month app of its opinion columns, NYT Opinion. The Atlantic examines what's on offer.

Duchess to turn Hogwarts into school for cage-fighters: Thank you Daily Mirror for the headline of the week.

30 May 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 20

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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.    

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.

16 May 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 18

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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.   

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.

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.

18 April 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 14

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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.   

Dailymirror

Daily Mirror, 16 April 2014

The Mirror’s Crying Child Photo – Not All That it Seems: Ethical conumdrum and news image of the week was the Daily Mirror's hotly debated selection of an image of a crying child for a front page story on food parcels in Britain.  Blogger Dan Barker points out that the children isn't hungry (she was crying over an earthworm), she's American, and it was taken in 2009.

Pulitzer Prizes Awarded for Coverage of N.S.A. Secrets and Boston Bombing: Some would imprison them; others hand them garlands - The Washington Post and The Guardian have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for public service for their reports based on the National Security Agency documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The Boston Globe won the breaking news prize for coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing, a year ago this week.

To the Snowden story system a crowning Pulitzer might have gone: No prizes should be awarded for the grammar in the title of Jay Rosen's article for his PressThink blog, but he argues that how the Snowden story was developed and shared internationally, outflanking national attempts to prevents its publication, is what merits a Pulitzer prize.

Tusrkey is a case study in the value of citizen journalists, thanks to the ones behind @140journos: Fascinating account by Mathew Ingram on how journalists use social media  in some countries when the traditional news media are perceieved to have failed - here the example of a citizien journalism initative in Turkey, crowdsourcing verification of poll results.

Appeals court says blogs are not only media, they're an important source of news and commentary: Mathew Ingram again, on the implications of a legal decision from a Florida court case on the status of blogs in a defamation case.

Digital journalism: we're still waiting for the third model of news publishing: Emily Bell asks what the recent launches in America of news sites such as Vox.com and the FiveThirtyEight mean for the development of the news media. 

Vox.com 's Melissa Bell: 'This is a chance to do journalism differently': Talking of which, Vox's co-founder Melissa Bell explains what the sites aims are, and what explanatory news (its special selling point) aims to achieve.

The IMPRESS Project's plans for press regulation: Journalism.co.uk reports on a crowdfunding initative to create a regulator for small regional and hyperlocal publishers.

 

Pathe Gazette's report on the evacuation from Dunkirk (1940), filmed by Charles Martin

British Pathé releases 85,000 film on YouTube: The British Pathé newsreel has released its entire archive of 3,500 hours of newsfilms 1896-1970 on YouTube. The films have all been available on the site www.britishpathe.com for twelve years, but this bold gesture should greatly increase their reach and profile.

A ... is for Advertising: The Newsroom blog gets its scond contributor, Jaimee McRoberts from the British Library's newspaper reference team, who kicks off an A-Z series on newspapers with Advertising.

The only way is ethics: Will Gore at The Independent is very interesting on the reporting of the Oscar Pistorious trial by the South African media, with its more permissive approach to what gets reported - and the different news imperatives between print and web news outlets.

Data journalism in Venezuela: Philip Smith at Media Shift tells how data journalism is developing in Venezuela, despite all of the hurdles:

... a visual history of violence in Venezuela; the relationship between Venezuela and Columbia in the trafficking of cocaine; analysis of various epidemics and outbreaks; live-tracking of how long ships sit in ports waiting to be unloaded of much-needed staples like sugar; an investigation into the paper shortage facing newspapers; a Twitter analysis of candidates in a recent election; and deep search into the network behind several Venezuelans who were charged in the U.S. for finance-related crimes, which was not well reported in Venezuela itself.

An enthusiastic, engrossing account.

Pickles pursues the wrong policy as people reject local newspapers: Thought-provoking piece from Roy Greenslade on the closure of a local paper (the Fulham & Hammersmith Chronicle), the supposed competition from the local council's free paper, and how demographics are as much of a theatre to local newspapers as rival news sources.

BBC is the most-shared news brand on Twitter: 96 million unique users in March 2014;  user figures up 26 per cent on the monthly average of 76 million; news stories shared 2.71 million times across the month on Twitter - the BBC website marches on, having celebrated its 20th anniversary last week. The Drum reports.

A print newspaper generated by robots: The Guardian has been experimenting with a limited edition printed newspaper - called #Open001 - that is produced by algorithms based on social-sharing activity. So the robots are gathering the stories, not writing them. Yet.

Well, this is hawkward: Hmm, how good are robots at spotting humour? Press Gazette gleefully reports how The Guardian was fooled by a Vatican April Fool's Day story (about hiring a hawk to protect the Pope's doves).