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Breaking the News exhibition opens

28 April 2022

Silhouette of a man in front of a wall display of news images
Dr David Dunkley Gyimah at the launch of British Library's 'Breaking the News' exhibition.

Cardiff University Senior Lecturer Dr David Dunkley Gyimah has contributed his media expertise to a new exhibition in the British Library called Breaking the News.

The exhibition, which opened on 22 April, documents 500 years of news coverage in the UK, the power and influence of that coverage and asks what really lies behind the headlines?

The British Library’s own collection of broadsheets, blogs and cataloged objects are used to illustrate five centuries of era-defining stories close-up. From reporting on Jack the Ripper to the Profumo Affair, and from coverage of the Grenfell Tower fire to the war in Syria.

As a member of the advisory panel, Dr Dunkley Gyimah contributed his specialist knowledge of international journalism, diversity, innovation and cinema journalism to the stories selected by the panel for the exhibition.

Dr Dunkley Gyimah said, “News has the power to make and break elections. Turn everyday people into overnight superstars. And bring them crashing back down to earth.

“This exhibition will challenge and change the way you think about news and hopefully prompt questions about the news we consume. For example, when does news become propaganda and who decides which stories to suppress and which to spotlight?”

Dr David Gyimah Reader

Dr Dunkley Gyimah also contributed a chapter called Black Lives Matter: The fight for identity in the media, to the book accompanying the exhibition.

In it he argues it is impossible to understand the Black Lives Matter movement and its media representation without understanding the power of language, the history of the civil rights, the use of slogans in Black empowerment, and the lens in which mainstream news operates.

Cover of the book, Breaking the News
Breaking the News - 500 Years of News in Britain.

Dr Dunkley Gyimah added, “Contributing to this collection has been an incredible experience. It’s been an honour to exchange views with leading academics, media professionals and the library’s team led by lead curator Luke Mckernan.

“This type of practical research reflects the School of Journalism, Media and Culture’s approach to creating works of impact and I look forward to building upon this within our school.”

Breaking the News runs until 21 August and the book, also titled Breaking the News, is edited by Jackie Harrison and Luke McKernan and is published by British Library press.

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Representology, a journal for research and best practice in how to make the UK’s media more representative of all sections of society, co-founded by Cardiff University.