Ref NoGUA/7/2/1
TitleProduction and design records of the New Media Department (formerly New Media Lab)
DateMarch 1995-1998
Extent1 box
Creator NameGuardian Newspapers Limited
DescriptionRecords relating to the production of the early Guardian websites by the New Media Department before the launch of Guardian Unlimited in 1999. Includes Stella Beaumont's New Media Lab and electronic publishing records, project planning records, design records and production records.
Admin HistoryThe Guardian’s online presence can be dated back to at least 1994. In August 1994, during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Guardian worked with FringeWeb, a website hosted by Pipex which contained listings for Festival shows. Through an informal agreement Guardian and Observer reviews and stories about Festival shows were posted on FringeWeb. The website proved to be a success and the following year GNL established a department to work specifically on The Guardian and The Observer’s online presence.

The establishment of the New Media Department (formerly the New Media Lab) as a sub department of The Guardian’s Production Development Unit (PDU) was announced at a Guardian online away day in July 1995. In September 1995, the Board of Guardian Newspapers Ltd officially established the New Media Department with instructions ‘to implement the proposed electronic publication of The Guardian and The Observer’. Its remit was to look into alternative online publishing not just to put stories from the newspaper online.

The NMD was responsible for producing a number of The Guardian’s early websites many of which were in partnership with or sponsored by third parties. These include*:

- Go2 launched in November 1995 as the website for The Guardian’s computer, science and technology supplement, OnLine.
- Eurosoccer.com launched in February 1996 as a dedicated site for the Euro’96 competition. Sponsored by General Motors, features included match reports in four different languages and downloadable screen savers of goals
- ShiftControl launched in October 1996 as a weekly webzine sponsored by Whitbread
- Sites for specific sections of the paper or regular features such as notes & queries and education
- RecruitNet launched in October 1996 placing Guardian recruitment advertisements on the internet for the first time
- A website for the 1997 UK general election with a dedicated reporter from editorial providing up to date and comprehensive coverage of the election
- A cricket website launched in June 1997 for the 1997 Ashes in partnership with Wisden
- A football website, football.co.uk was launched in August 1997.
- A website for the Booker prize was created in 1997 on which books were reviewed and could be purchased online directly from the NMD

The NMD was based in 3-7 Ray Street, London. The department was made up of designers, web production experts, IT support and journalists. Staff who worked in or closely with the New Media Department included: Azeem Azhar, Bill Thompson, Carolyn McCall, Dave Potts, Ian Katz, Jane Glentworth, Noll Scott, Robin Hunt, Simon Waldman, Stella Beaumont, Tony Ageh.

In 1997, the New Media Department focused resources on developing a major new online publication for The Guardian and The Observer, which was ultimately to become the Guardian Unlimited network of websites launched in January 1999.

Sources: archive records, The Guardian, The Internet Archive and Ian Mayes.
System Of ArrangementBy function and creator
Access StatusOpen(part)
Access ConditionsSome records are closed in line with the DPA and business confidentiality. See item level descriptions or contact the Archive for further information.
Related MaterialRecords that were created by the New Media Department but relate specifically to the planning, design and production of the Guardian Unlimited website will be catalogued at GUA/7/2/2.
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