THE BRITISH LIBRARY

The Newsroom blog

8 posts from June 2014

30 June 2014

News reference workshops

If you are new to the newspaper and other news collections at the British Library, or if you simply feel in need of a refresher on how to get the best out of our services, then our News Reference Workshops will be just the thing for you. These free workshops are run by our newspaper reference team and news curators, and are designed to provide general introductions different parts of the collection. There is workshop on using the Newsroom (which will feature on a monthly, regular basis), and workshops on specific areas such as early and modern newspapers, news-related electronic services, television news, and the British Newspaper Archive. Each lasts 45mins to an hour.

British-library-newsroom

Introduction to the Newsroom
This session aims to provide an introduction to the Newsroom and the news collections as well as basic guidance for researchers using the Reading Room. The session will:

  • Provide an overview of the scope and history of our news collections
  • Explain what digital news sources are available
  • Explain how to search for and order newspapers
  • Provide information on resources and services in the Reading Room

Dates: 8 July (14.30); 5 Aug (14.30); 9 Sept (14.30); 7 Oct (14.30); 11 Nov (14.30); 9 Dec (14.30)
To book a place, please email us at: newspaper@bl.uk

Introduction to early newspapers: From the early 17th century to the mid-19th century
This workshop will include:

  • The development of newspapers from the early C17th to the mid C19th.
  • The origins of the national and regional press in the UK
  • Early newspaper collections at the British Library
  • Searching for early newspapers in the British Library catalogue (Explore the British Library)
  • Digitised early newspapers

Date: 26 Nov (14.30)
To book a place, please email us at: newspaper@bl.uk

Introduction to modern newspapers: mid-19th – 20th century
This workshop will include:

  • The development of newspapers from the mid C19th to the present day
  • Modern newspaper collections at the British Library
  • British/Irish newspapers received on Legal Deposit
  • Overseas newspapers
  • Searching for modern newspapers in the British Library catalogue (Explore the British Library)

Date: 20 Aug (14.30)
To book a place, please email us at: newspaper@bl.uk

News-related electronic resources
This session will cover the range of news related electronic resources available at the BL and how to access this material. The session will include:

  • Awareness of newspaper electronic resources and importance of newspaper e-resources for contemporary research.
  • Highlighting the various ways to access BL newspaper e-resources.
  • Demonstrations of key newspaper e-resources.
  • Showcasing the variety of newspaper databases including facsimile and text only e-resources, and various news related bibliographies and indexes available at the BL.

Date: 24 Sept (14.30)
To book a place, please email us at: newspaper@bl.uk

Television and Broadcast News service
Our Broadcast News service has four years of television and radio news programmes from the UK and adds 60 hours every day. We also provide onsite access to 200,000 BBC television and radio programmes. This workshop will give a guide to finding and using television news at the British Library, and to television archive sources in the UK.

Date: 21 Oct (14.30)

To book a place, please email us at: newspaper@bl.uk

Using the British Newspaper Archive
This presentation and short practical session offers an introduction to the British Newspaper Archive (BNA). It will cover the scope and techniques of the digitisation programme and highlight the advantages of using newspapers as digital resources. The talk will explore the content of the BNA in terms of titles, dates and regional areas of the UK and Ireland.

The practical element looks at basic and advanced searching, getting help, printing and some of the more advanced features such as My Research, contextual information, corrections and tagging.

Attendees are encouraged to register with the BNA before arrival.

Date: 23 July (14.30)

To book a place, please email us at: newspaper@bl.uk

More information on British Library workshops and training events is provided here. You can book by emailing us at newspaper@bl.uk, or just ask any of the staff at the Newsroom reference desk.

27 June 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 24

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.  

Jonsnow

Jon Snow silenced. Screengrab from Channel 4 News tx 23/6/2014

Outrage as Egypt jails Al Jazeera staff: On Monday an Egyptian court sentence two Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in jail and one to ten years in jail for supposedly aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and producing false news reports of the situation in Egypt. Protests against the sentences handed down to Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy, and Baher Mohamed have been made worldwide, with journalists in many newsrooms taking part in a symbolic taping-up of mouths (as demonstrated by Channel 4 News) and the hashtags  and .

Inside the Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson Trial: At the end of the epic phone hacking trial former News of the World editor Andy Coulson was found guilty of a conspiracy to intercept voicemails, while former News International chief executive Mrs Brooks was found not guilty of conspiracy to hack voicemails, two counts of conspiracy to pay public officials and two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. The Drum's coverage of the phone hacking trial has been particularly interesting and clear in how it has presented the unfolding story.

Hacking trial verdict: Coulson guilty and Brooks cleared, but end of an era for the red tops: George Brocks' piece for Contributoria views the phone hacking trial verdict from an historical perspective and sees as marking the end of an era for the British tabloid press. From the same source, Steven Barnett says that the hacking trial was just round one in the fight to rescue journalism, while Richard Sambrook writes on how the hacking trial highlighted the cosy relationship between politicians and the press.

No ordinary newspaper: A good overview of the News of the World and how the hacking trial came about and unfolded from Dominic Casciani for BBC News Magazine. 

Everything You Need To Know About The Phone Hacking Trial: Or else sample Patrick Smith's handy Buzzfeed guide.

How many media academics does it take to work out what's going on?: A pithy analysis from David Hepworth on why reading news on a screen is not the same as reading as newspaper, and how we are never going to go back to such habits:

It's no longer anything to do with the news the papers happen to provide, which is what the world of media academics spends its time fretting about. It's entirely a question of how users behave. Tech understands this, which is why it changes its products all the time in response to the way they're used. No wonder it's stolen the media's lunch.

Digital news as popular as newspapers for first time: So here's the tipping point - 41% of people in the UK are using online news sources while 40% use newspapers, according to Ofcom's News Consumption in the UK report. But TV news remains by far and away the most used (75%).

CNN to study drone use in newsgathering: Are drones the future of newsgathering? CNN is investigating its further use and regulation, while concerns remain in the US over its legality.

Robot

Kodomoroid (she's the one on the left), from Sky News

Android Anchorman: robot newsreader unveiled: More from the world of robot journalism, and Sky News reports on Kodomoroid, a Japanese invention claimed to be the world's first newsreading android (does no one remember Ananova?).

Who will produce stories for the Mail to copy if it drives its rivals to the wall?: News Corp has been protesting at the Mail Online's launch in Australia, with its practice of reusing others' news stories ('churnalism'). Roy Greenslade points out that 'copy theft' is nothing new in newspaper journalism, but wonders if the logical extension to the culture of re-use is ultimately self-defating, as the title of his piece indicates.

Mail Online stays top with 11m daily browsers: Meanwhile, Mail Online remains far and away the most popular UK news site, with just over 11m daily global browsers per day. Press Gazette's report on the latest ABC figures shows that all national newspaper websites which had figures available showed strong year on year growth in May, with Metro the fastest growing newspaper website audited by ABC.

Newsnight really doesn't make the weather any more: A sharp piece from Peter Preston at The Observer on how too much of current affairs television is failing to reinvent itself for the digital world.

No, the media didn’t ignore your anti-austerity march – it just wasn’t that interesting: There was much disappointment - and suspicion - among those involved in the anti-austerity march in London that it was little reported, despite going past the BBC on the march route. Some interesting questions arise about who decides what the news is, but The New Statesman isn't too impressed by the conspiracy theories.

 

Is Fox News more dangerous thatn ISIS?: Russell Brand was a speaker at the anti-austerity march. What has gained rather more attention has been this impassioned tirade on his YouTube account against Fox News commentator Judge Jeanine Pirro who called for the bombing of the ISIS insurgency in Syria and Iraq. Polemic of the week.

James Harding: BBC wants to work with regional press to 'drive the revival of local journalism': BBC news head James Harding, speaking at the Revival of Local Journalism conference in Salford, outs out the olive branch.

Guardian for Glass: The Guardian has been quick off the mark in providing an offering for the wearable technology. Guardian for Glass will provide headline news stories from its various international editions and breaking news notifications. Oh brave new world.

20 June 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 23

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. 

Paxman

Jeremy Paxman's final Newsnight

Jeremy Paxman signs off from Newsnight: Jeremy Paxman, host of BBC's Newsnight, bowed with a curious programme that had Paxman and Boris Johnson on a tandem, Michael Howard finally saying 'no', Paxman feeling tempted to say (as with Peter Finch in Network) that "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more" (but saying it sweetly), a goodbye to the tune of 'I'd like to teach the world to sing', and a final refusal to read out the weather properly. Time to move on, for all parties' sake.

Broadcast news: We now have 50,000 television and radio news programmes recorded and available for instant onsite access at the British Library. Here's a guide to how to find and use them.

Why the Oxford Mail is experimenting with WhatsApp: The Whatsapp smartphone messaging app is exciting much interest jin news circles, and the Oxford Mail has made an imaginative step in using the app to pass on news to subscribers. Journalism.co.uk investigates.

News sites ally with Mozilla in ongoing quest to reinvent online commenting: Much interest in the New York Times and Washington Post working with Mozilla to develop a platform that will tackle issues like unonymous trolls who plague the comment threads of news and other sites. The Guardian's report looks at the motivation (will it be open source?) and how other news sites manage the comments they receive.

The anatomy of a robot journalist: Nicholas Diakopoulos at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism explains how automated journalism works.

Time divides, ads subtract and it's hard to sum up newpapers' future: Peter Preston at The Observer looks at the World Association of Newspapers' annual survey of trends in 70 countries, and sees a mixture of good and bad news for the medium, but asks the crucial question: "Would anyone today invent something called a newspaper'?"

Reddit's newsgathering comes of age after growing pains: Mashable looks at how Reddit has turned things round for its gathering of news since its calamitous misuse during 2013's Boston Marathon bombing, which led to accusations being made against an innocent college student.

Ed Miliband apologises for endorsing The Sun: Ed Miliband posed for a picture showing him holding a free copy of The Sun newspaper with its World Cup theme (as did the Prime Minister David Cameron and Nick Clegg), then ended up apologising for his action the next day after party members complained. The Spectator reports. Holding the media is easier than handling it...

No point in fanning the flames over the great Sun giveaway: Did you get your free copy of The Sun? I'm rather disappointed that I didn't (in a conflicted sort of way), but many of those who did turned to social media to express their disgust and to show ways in which were disposing of the paper. Grey Cardigan pours cold water on such attitudes, and dismisses the suggestions in some quarters that the paper could be fined for not publishing an imprint.

Scoop: A Glimpse Into the NYTimes CMS: Content Management Systems are cool, and they are essential to innovative online journalism. Here's a really interesting - and smartly illustrated - guide to the New York Times' Scoop CMS.

 

The TV news where you are is not the TV news where we are...: Roy Greenslade passed on this gem of a monologue from Scottish author James Robertson, one of a series of 365-word witty thought pieces, which offers an astute lesson how one person's news is not always another person's news (but is this in the mind of the producer or the consumer?) You can read the text of 'The News Where You Are' here.

15 Crazy Facts About BuzzFeed That Will Totally Blow Your Mind: A Buzzfeed-style guide to Buzzfeed from the New York Times magazine e.g. "Listicles with 42 items are viewed the most (104 posts for 44,582,700 views), while 4-item lists are viewed the least (4,635 posts for 75,452 shares)."

A paper boat navigating a digital sea: More from NYT, this time Margaret Sullivan, pondering (as every commentator has) on what sort of digital future the title has "when the business model — and the DNA of the newsroom — is so tied to the printed newspaper".

National newspapers, local newspapers and cases of breach of promise: An interesting and useful post on the British Newspaper Archive blog by Denise Bates, on how historical regional newspapers often have more essential detail for the historian than do the nationals.

Jeremy Hunt reaffirms his faith in local TV despite low viewing ratings: The ratings for the local TV stations such as London Live are terrible so far, but Jeremy Hunt, who came up with the idea, still holds out hope. "If New York can manage six local TV stations the idea that London cannot sustain one is bonkers, despite the desire of competitors to rubbish it."

Should the BBC unpublish any of its online content?: Now here's food for thought. David Jordan, the BBC's Director of Editorial Policy and Standards, considers the implications of the European Union Court of Justice's ruling that Google must remove some search results on individuals if they can be proven to be "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant."

Today, the BBC is publishing Editorial Policy Guidance about when we remove or amend BBC online content. Essentially, this says that material on the BBC website which is not available for a limited time period will become part of a permanently accessible archive that we are reluctant to remove or change and that we will only do so in exceptional circumstances. We are also reluctant to remove or alter programmes available on BBC iPlayer during the catch-up period.

Man bites dog: What joy there must have been at the South Wales Argus when they were genuinely able to run with the most legendary of news headlines.

Manbitesbog

Via Press Gazette

18 June 2014

Broadcast news

Newspapers form the greater part of the British Library's news collections, by far, but they are not all that we have. Since May 2010 we have been recording television and radio news programmes broadcast in the UK, and now take in 60 hours of programmes per day, every day, from 22 channels, made available through our onsite Broadcast News service. We're just about to record our 50,000th news programme. This post is a guide to finding and using television and radio news programmes at the British Library.

Broadcastnews

 

Broadcast News 

What we record

The first official Broadcast News recording was made at 10pm, 6 May 2010. It was the day of the UK General Election, and as soon as the polls closed we flicked on the switches and started recording the election night coverage of BBC1, ITV1, Channel 4 and BBC Radio 4. After a cautious start, we raised the number of recordings we made per day in 2011, and today we record from 22 television and radio channels which are free-to-air in the UK (via Freeview or Freesat), approxumately 40 hours of television and 20 hours of radio.

We don't record every news programme broadcast in the UK, partly because of the large amount of repetition that is inevitable with 24-hours news channels. Instead we record roughly 13% of what is broadcast. These are the channels from which we record, with some of the key news programmes from each channel that we always cover.

Television:

  • Al Jazeera English - News Hour, The Stream, Listening Post
  • BBC One - Breakfast, News at Six, News at Ten, Andrew Marr Show 
  • BBC News - HARDtalk, morning and afternoon news programmes, The Papers
  • BBC Parliament - ... in Parliament late night summary programme
  • BBC Two - Daily Politics, Sunday PoliticsNewsnight
  • BBC Four - World News Today
  • Bloomberg - The Pulse, Asia Edge, Charlie Rose
  • CCTV News - China 24, News Hour, Africa Live
  • Channel 4 - Channel 4 News
  • CNN - CNN Newsroom, International Desk
  • France 24 - News & Magazines
  • ITV1 - Good Morning Britain, ITV News at Six, ITV News at Ten
  • NHK World - Newsline, Asia This Week
  • RT - Headline NewsThe Big Picture with Thom Hartmann, Keiser ReportSputnik with George Galloway
  • Sky News - Sunrise, Sky News at 6, Sky News at 10, Press Review, Murnaghan

Radio:

  • BBC London - The Breakfast Show, Dotun Adebayo
  • BBC Radio 1 - Newsbeat
  • BBC Radio 4 - Today, PM, the World Tonight, News and Weather, The World This Weekend, Westminster Hour, Broadcasting House, Any Questions?/Any Answers?
  • BBC 5 Live - 5 Live Breakfast, 5 Live Drive
  • BBC World Service - Newshour, The Newsroom, From Our Own Correspondent
  • LBC 97.3 - The Morning News, Nick Ferrari, Ken Livingstone & David Mellor, Kay Burley With Stig Abell
  • talkSport - Drive Time - Adrian Durham & Darren Gough

We try to record the same news programmes each day, as researchers often want to follow how a story was reported through the one outlet over a period of time. But programmes come and go, and we keep our eye out for new news series as they emerge. We can't capture everything, but we hope to achieve a good mix of the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Where there major news stories which break through the usual news schedules, we record these usually for a 24-hour period, and across at least two channels. So we have thorough, multi-channel records of such news stories as the UK riots of 2011, the death of Osama Bin Laden, the Japanese tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, and the death of Nelson Mandela.

How to use Broadcast News

The Broadcast News service can only be used in the British Library's reading rooms, including the Newsroom. This is because we have to respect the copyright held in these programmes, so we do not make them available online. Within a reading room environment, we can offer the entire collection on an instant access basis, with most programmes being there to view within a few hours of broadcast. So if you come to the Newsroom to do some research say around 11:00am, the news programmes from that morning will be there waiting for you.

Basic catalogue records for our TV and radio news programmes can be found on Explore (type in the name of a news programme and refine the searching by Material type / Moving Image) or the Sound and Moving Image catalogue, though such records are not fully up-to-date as yet.

To access Broadcast News, all you need to do is to go to any British Library terminal (at our St Pancras or Boston Spa sites), and click on the Sound and Moving image link on the welcome page. This will take you to the page illustrated below, with links to Broadcast News and other sound and moving image services that we provide onsite.

Soundandmovingimage

Sound and Moving Image page

Click on Broadcast News, and this will take you to the front page shown at the top of this post. There are then three ways of searching the collection. You can click on one of the images on the front page and that will take you to the latest programmes from nine of the most popular channels. You can use the search box at the top of the screen to search under any word or programme title. Or you can use Advanced Search to narrow searches down by channel or date.

The search results page looks like this: 

Searchresults

Broadcast News search results page

Click on any one of these records and this will take you to the full programme playback page, or use the filter options on the left-hand side to refine the results by date, channel or medium (i.e. TV or radio).

Broadcast News is dependent on the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) for its catalogue data. EPG data gives you the channel, date, title and time of a programme, but for news programmes it usually only gives a generic description (e.g. "A round-up of the main news stories of the morning..."). This isn't too useful for someone looking for a particular subject, but happily we are able to capture the subtitles for 50% of the television programmes that we record - for BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News (other news channels such as CNN and Al Jazeera English do not come with subtitles). This makes many of our programmes fully word-searchable, greatly increasing their value to researchers.

 

Sky_ukriots

Sky News coverage of the UK riots, 9 August 2011, with subtitles on the right-hand side

The subtitles play alongside the video, rather than as part of it. It is possible to search for a word within the subtitles (use the 'filter' option) or to scroll through the subtitles while the video is playing. If you click on any subtitle, you will be taken to that place in the video. We also capture still images from the broadcasts, one every five seconds. If you go to the Frames option on the playback page, you will see them all, which therefore enable you to browse through a programme by its imagery. Click on any such image, and again you will be taken to that place in the video.

There is much more that we want to do to improve Broadcast News, by making those programmes without subtitles (and radio programmes of course) word-searchable as well, for which we have been investigating speech-to-text technologies. We also want to improve discovery by pointing researchers to individual stories within a news programme. Such developments will take time, however.

Why broadcast news?

And why is the British Library recording television news programmes? Because they are uniquely informative about the world today. Because television news has the highest use and greatest influence of all the news media in the UK, as many polls have demonstrated. Because newspapers can no longer be considered in isolation as a news publication. Because researchers have had huge difficulties in the past gaining access to television news programmes en masse. And because television news affects how we see the world in a profound way, one that commands respect but also demands the sort of intelligent analysis that scholarly research exists to provide. 

Finding out more

  • There is a more detailed guide to finding and using our television and radio news holdings on this Help page
  • A short collection guide to our television and radio news holdings is here
  • The Recording Mandela post on this blog explains how we went about recording the many news programmes on the death of Nelson Mandela
  • The URL for Broadcast News is https://videoserver.bluk - but please note this will only work if you are on British Library premises and using a British Library terminal
  • We welcome any feedback on the Broadcast News service - just email us at broadcastnews@bl.uk

 

 

13 June 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 22

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.

10 June 2014

Broadcasting D-Day

The 70th anniversary of D-Day was widely commemorated across the news media. One of the most striking ways in which the history was made real was the BBC's use of contemporary radio broadcasts and readings from original radio news scripts to bring the past back into the present. Broadcast at their correct times and dates, seventy years on, the scripts are part of the British Library's collection, and we were delighted to be able to work with the BBC to make a small selection of them available, as broadcasts, and to be read online.

Dday_script

BBC radio news script, 8am, 6 June 1944 © BBC, held by the British Library

The broadcasts went out on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service news programmes, and on iPlayer, with the scripts being read out by Benedict Cumberbatch, Toby Jones and Patrick Stewart. They were read by actors because for many of these news programmes the original broadcast no longer survives, though happily two original recordings for 1944 delivered by John Snagge and Richard Dimbleby were also made available. Digitised copies of the scripts have been published online alongside the sound recordings.

 The British Library's collection of BBC radio scripts runs from 1937 to 1972 (a set held on microfilm extend the collection to 1983). There are some gaps, particularly for the 1930s, but from the war years onwards the collection is a reasonably comprehensive record of what was broadcast by the BBC at different times of the day to UK audiences (the collection does not include scripts for broadcasts aimed at overseas audiences). For the latter years there are television news scripts as well.

This is a huge collection - there can be up to 200 pages of script for one day - and at present it remains uncatalogued. This D-Day collaboration with the BBC is a first effort at making the collection successful, and we hope to work with them in the future (including the near future) on opening up the collection to a general audience and to research.

The Second World War was when the BBC fully established itself as a service speaking to the UK nation as a whole, establishing its reputation and the expectations that have been subsequently placed upon it. It became the vital information source, as the people of the United Kingdom followed each step of war (military censorship notwithstanding) by listening to their radios, particularly the daily nine o'clock evening broadcast. 

The effect created by the D-Day scripts and their re-readings shows what power lies in the contemporary account, particularly when we see it in the form of a typescript, with pencilled amendments, and that red stamp that says that the text has been 'Passed for Security'. The unemotional, almost matter-of-fact tone of the scripts contrasts vividly the enormity of the events that they are describing, as history was made by the hour. News turns into history then turns into news again. If we do not quite feel that we were there, we do feel that much closer a bond with those who were.

 

06 June 2014

St Pancras Intelligencer no. 21

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

https://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.

04 June 2014

An introduction to the Newsroom

The Newsroom is the British Library's new dedicated reading room for researching its news collections. It is located on the second floor of the Library's site at St Pancras in London. This post is an overall guide to what researchers can expect to find in the Newsroom. 

Newsroom_issuedesk

The Newsroom is in two sections: the main reading room, which delivers access to the news collections and is open to anyone with a British Library reader's pass; and the networking area, a research space open to anyone which displays live news on screens from a variety of sources.

Finding

You can find most of our news collections through the British Library's main catalogue, https://explore.bl.uk. News items can be searched for by title, any word from a title, place name, or word in the catalogue record. Some of our television and radio news records can be found on Explore, but we are still adding records. The full collection can be found via Broadcast News (see below). Our web news collection needs to be searched separately (see below).

To access anything from our news collections you will need a free Reader Pass - guidelines on how to obtain a pass are available here.

You can order items before your visit using https://explore.bl.uk.

Desks

The main room has 110 desks, of which 58 are clear Reader desks, 40 have microfilm viewers plus access to electronic resources, and 8 have dedicated electronic resources terminals. 

Services

We offer self-service facilities for making copies from print, microfilm and digital newspapers, subject to preservation and copyright restrictions. There are 3 printers in the Newsroom, and 1 print release station. We have a wide range of news media reference works available on open access, including such titles as Willing's Press Guide and the Times Index.

Newspapers

We collect nearly all newspapers published in the United Kingdom and Ireland, with some 60 million issues going back to the early 1600s. We currently receive around 1,500 newspaper titles on a daily or weekly basis, and nearly 100 titles from overseas. Because the main print newspaper collection is currently in transit from its former home in Colindale to our Newspaper Storage Building in Boston Spa, Yorkshire, the newspapers will not become available in the Newsroom until autumn 2014.

Microfilm

There are 15 microfilmed newspaper titles available immediately via open access, while anything from our main collection of 625,000 reels of microfilmed newspapers is available for delivery within 70 minutes, or can be ordered in advance by using https://explore.bl.uk. Appropxiately one third of our newspaper collection is available on microfilm. The 15 titles available for immediate access are:

  • Daily Mail 1896-2009
  • Daily Telegraph 1855-2009
  • Daily Worker 1930-1960
  • Evening Standard 1860-June 2010
  • Financial Times 1888 onwards
  • Guardian 1821 onwards
  • Independent 1986 onwards
  • Independent on Sunday 1989 onwards
  • Mail on Sunday 1982-2009
  • Morning Star 1966-2009
  • News of the World 1843-2011
  • Observer 1791 onwards
  • Sun 1964-2009
  • Sunday Telegraph 1961-2009
  • The Times 1785 onwards

Our specialist microfilm readers enable the microfilmed images to be viewed on a digital screen, and can be rotated to suit the shape on a newspaper if required. They offer the ability to zoom in and out, crop, adjust focus, brightness, contrast, and de-skew the image.

Electronic resources

We provide access to a wide range of digitised newspapers and other electronic news collections, both those derived from our own holdings and the digital collections of third parties. This includes:

  • British Newspaper Archive
  • British Newspapers 1600-1950 
  • Gale News Vault
  • Readex World Newspaper Archive
  • NewsBank
  • ProQuest Historial Newspapers
  • UKpressonline

All of our electronic news resources are listed at https://www.bl.uk/eresources/main.shtml and all can be seen for free in the Newsroom.

Television and radio news

We have almost 50,000 television and radio news programmes recorded since May 2010 available onsite via the Broadcast News service. This can be accessed by using the link to Sound and Moving Image collections given on the home page of the Library terminals. There are recordings taken from 22 channels:

  • Television:
  • Al Jazeera English 
  • BBC One
  • BBC News
  • BBC Parliament
  • BBC Two 
  • BBC Four
  • Bloomberg
  • CCTV News
  • Channel 4
  • CNN
  • France 24
  • ITV1
  • NHK World
  • RT
  • Sky News
  • Radio:
  • BBC London
  • BBC Radio 1
  • BBC Radio 4 
  • BBC 5 Live
  • BBC World Service
  • LBC
  • talkSport

Most programmes are available in the Newsroom from the day of broadcast. We only record news and news-related programmes.

BBC

Separately we provide access to BBC programmes via the BBC Catalogue service. This has some 2 million BBC catalogue records from the 1950s to 2012, with around 200,000 playable television and radio programmes broadcast 2007-2012. This can be accessed by using the link to Sound and Moving Image collections given on the home page of the Library terminals.

Web archives

We provide access to over 4.8 million UK websites archived since 2013 as part of the Legal Deposit Web Archive. This archive can be accessed by using the link to Web Archives collections given on the home page of the Library terminals. The collection includes over 500 news-based websites archived on a frequent basis, including most UK national newspaper sites and many regional sites, which can be searched as a discrete collection.

Networking

Networking area

The networking area is open to anyone. It has seating for over 30, with cubicles, and many charging points. The area's Video Wall features live television news, a rotating display of live news websites (all sites archived by the Library) and the Newsmap news aggregator site. We refresh the content on the Video Wall periodically.

Above the cubicles we project live tweets from around 100 news websites that we archive, including international, national and regional titles.

Opening hours

10.00-20.00 Mon

9.30-20.00 Tue-Thu

9.30-17.00 Fri - Sat

Workshops

We are organising a series of regular workshops on using the news collections, both general guides and introductions to particular parts of the collection. See https://www.bl.uk/reader-workshops.

Finding out more

The Newsroom has leaflets aavailable on the news collections and their use.

Our newspaper reference team can give help on using the Newsroom and finding items, though we cannot undertaken in-depth research requests. You can contact us online via https://www.bl.uk/reference-contacts.

Guide to the collection and its use are given on our web pages at https://www.bl.uk/subjects/news-media.

You can follow discussion about news and news collections via the Newsroom blog at https://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/thenewsroom.

Don't forget to follow us on Twitter too: @BL_newsroom