Ian Burrell: The national news archive is at risk


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The Independent Online

At the end of this month, the British Library will open an exciting new facility called the Newsroom, a celebration of journalism past and present and a valuable resource.

The Newsroom will host modern digital and broadcast media as well as Georgian coffee house pamphlets.

The library's chief executive, the former BBC2 controller Roly Keating, has called in the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, to perform the opening ceremony. Following her recent travails over expenses, she will know that many of the references to her in the national newspaper collection are less than flattering. Robert Peston, the BBC's Economics Editor, will make a speech.

Welcome though the British Library scheme is, it is also a reminder of the gaping holes emerging in the national archive as financially squeezed regional news media are forced to abandon courts and council chambers, leaving the historical public record woefully incomplete.