This guide will help you identify and access current and historical local, national, and international newspapers. You will also be able to access newspaper databases to find articles on topics covered in current and historical newspapers.
Newspapers are the best source regarding events that have happened recently. Journals and books cannot respond as quickly to current happenings as a newspaper can, particularly a daily newspaper. To understand a particular situation, you may need to read several days of the newspaper because the coverage is not always cumulative. Reading a newspaper’s reporting of a given event is a good way to understand it as it unfolded, and allows you to experience it as the residents of the area experienced it.
Because they are so current—generally publishing within 24 hours of an event—they are also prey to a certain number of errors. Editing and revision is done under a tight deadline. For these reasons, newspapers aren’t considered academic sources. However, if you need on-the-scene, first-person reporting of something that is happening now, a newspaper may be your only source of that nature. Make sure you have other sources that will support your findings.
Newspapers also shape community opinion. Keep that in mind as you read.