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Newspapers, magazines and other news sources

The University has access to an extensive range of online databases that allow you to search, browse and view newspapers, magazines and other news sources. This includes both historic and current material. 

Historical newspaper and magazine databases

Current newspapers, magazines and news sources

TV or other audio visual news sources

The Library also holds small collections of newspapers in print or on microfilm. More information can be found in the relevant section above.

Newspapers, magazines and other news sources at the Library

Newspapers and magazines are a useful to find out about key events, people and places

Most newspapers and magazines are written for the general public or specific groups of the general public. As well as news stories, interviews and features they include opinion pieces (from writers, editors or members of the public i.e. Letters to the Editor), obituaries and ephemera (advertisements, court circulars, weather reports, etc.,). Larger, national newspapers will also sometimes provide battle or war reports, law or court reports and parliamentary reports, including reproductions of speeches.

Traditional print newspapers and magazines are not the only place you can find news though. TV, radio, film, websites, etc., can also be used as news sources.

Things to consider

Newspapers, magazines and other news sources can be be valuable to your research as they can provide up to date coverage of events, news and opinion, include images and can include reliable information as well as facts and figures.

However, when using any news source in your research there are things you need to consider:

  • The intended audience
  • Ownership and editors - they may have their own biases, beliefs and political loyalties that shape the reporting and publications can be used for propaganda purposes.
  • Where in the printed publication does the article appear e.g. front page, back page, length of article, etc. You can also think about this in relation to TV news programmes i.e. the last story featured will usually be a "happy" story.
  • Articles or other features may be written to entertain rather than to portray facts.
  • Articles may be inaccurate - they may have been written within a tight deadline and may be poorly edited or incomplete. See also the box on Fake News on right hand side.

Search tips

Searching newspaper and magazine databases can be tricky with most of these databases including tens of thousands of articles and millions of words. These search tips should help you search newspapers and magazines more effectively.

The more you know about key events, people, laws and common terminology used during the time period you are researching, the more successful your search will be.

What keywords are you going to use for your search?

  • Is there alternative terminology that can be used e.g. synonyms, alternative spellings or endings, etc. 
    Remember newspapers and magazines can use colloquial or emotive language or puns.
  • What common terminology or language was used at the time.

It's sometimes useful to start with a broader time period and then narrow it down.

  • News could take longer to be reported on than today, this means you have to use a broader time period limit to catch everything.
  • Some databases will search the full newspaper rather than the individual article which can lead to large numbers of results.
  • Some databases will allow you to search at article level. 
    • They may even let you specify which bits of content you wish to search e.g. editorials, letters, adverts, features, etc., but in many cases you will not be able to control this.
  • Some databases will allow you to specify which part of an article you want to search e.g. headline only, full text, lead paragraphs, etc. 
    • This can be useful for narrowing down your results but in modern newspapers searching in just headlines can be problematic as headlines tend to use puns or clever language. Lead paragraph can be a good option instead.

To counteract any editorial bias or inaccuracies it is is useful to search more than one newspaper on your topic.

This will often mean having to search more than one database as newspapers are often provided by different publishers. 

If newspapers are provided by the same publisher then it may be possible to do some cross-searching i.e. search multiple newspaper databases or titles at one time.

While the newspaper and magazine databases listed in this guide are the best ones to use when searching for historical or current news you will find some short runs of newspapers, individual issues, newsletters, etc., in other primary source databases. 

Digital primary source and archive collections

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What are periodicals?

Periodicals are publications that are published at regular intervals e.g. daily, weekly, monthly, etc. Newspapers and magazines are periodicals, as well as newsletters, scholarly journals, etc. 

In the Main Library our print journals have shelfmarks starting PER.
PER = Periodical.

Fake News

IFLA [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)]

It may seem like "Fake News" is a recent phenomenon but it's nothing new. People have been creating fake news items for 100s of years for various propaganda purposes. It's worth remembering this when you are using newspapers, magazines and news sources in your research, no matter the time period.

Help

If you require further help then contact your Academic Support Librarian:

Or contact Library Help: