Regular readers of this blog will know that 2016 marked the twentieth year of NLA media access. We didn’t make a great deal of the anniversary, however along with the turn of the year, we did reflect on time gone by and how the industry continues to evolve.
Most importantly, if 2016 taught us anything, it was that news – proper news, written or presented by professionals – has an irreplaceable value. And since our organisation is founded on exactly that proposition, it was good to hear so many others say the same.
That is not to denigrate the extraordinary contribution that user-generated content – or citizen journalism, call it what you will – can make to news. Digital devices and fast broadband make reporters of us all. But the controversy over fake news is a reminder that the costly process of editing and checking is worth paying for.
Money matters more than ever in journalism, and we try to help. In 2016 the NLA returned another record year of revenue to publishers from our licensing operations and database services; taking our cumulative contribution over two decades to £340m. Annually, this contribution to publishers is the equivalent to the cost of employing 1,500 journalists.
2016 saw other trends which will continue into 2017. There was a steady drumbeat of international partnerships in the year – France, Sweden, Austria and others; we continue to expand and improve our eClips and ClipShare services; and we added significantly to our repertoire of content, growing our database to an impressive 95 million articles.
Social responsibility matters to us as well: our £100k donation in 2016 took our support for the Journalism Diversity Fund past the £1 million mark since we started in 2005.
In the year ahead we will continue to innovate, improve services to MMOs, PR agencies and our other commercial partners, whilst upholding the NLA’s core purpose: supporting journalism, a cause that matters more than ever.