Skip to main content
Syracuse University Libraries

Newspaper Databases

A guide to newspaper databases available through the SU Libraries system

News Sources: Analog vs Online Aggregators vs Native Digital Platforms

Introduction

  • Most news websites that implement subscription paywalls target individual subscribers as customers.  Syracuse University students, faculty, and staff should be aware those publishers may at times offer significant discounted rates to university staff, students and faculty.    In the case of the New York Times at SU, that means 50% discounts for personal digital subscriptions for current SU NETID holders. 
     
  • While a few sites sometimes are licensed on behalf of an entire campus community (at SU, non newspaper websites such as The Economist and Advertising Age Datacenter come to mind), the vast majority of otherwise non-open access, non special collections - news and newspaper content arrives at campuses across the U.S. via third party aggregator database services like ProQuest News & Newspapers, Nexis Uni, Access World News, Newspaperarchive.com, Factiva, Television News Archive, and others.  For a list of all current SU Libraries’ News & Newspaper databases, visit https://researchguides.library.syr.edu/az.php?t=20474  
  • When researchers seek reporting from analog format, print journalism (i.e., literal newspapers), and assuming they are not working directly with hardcopy, archival print pages, or news residing on microfilm reels, those aggregator databases mentioned above support reliable access to primary source news reporting (digitized newspaper content) that at times dates back through dozens, sometimes hundreds, of years of journalism (i.e., The Washington Post organization itself relies on ProQuest at its website as its third party database service for archival research within that paper). 
     
  • Some aggregators also collect a significant quantity of recent historical and same day news reports they pull from news websites.  For instance, in ProQuest News & Newspaper database one sees publication titles available such as “New York Times (Online)” or “Washington Post (Online).”   Both Proquest News & Newspapers and Access World News offer search result refinements called “source type,” which are helpful filters if one wants to zero in on news video, images, blogs, audio, etc.
     
  • When comprehensive study of purely digitally mediated content is the objective, such as analysis of a news website’s embedded videos, image slide shows, uploaded audio, interactive reader polls, digital advertising, layout of still image photojournalism, or – how news text on a site changes in a single day during a 24/7 news cycle, all as encountered on those native news publisher websites themselves, absent a university wide subscription (if offered by that publisher at all, and this is rare), doing so generally requires an individual subscription (in cases where that news site employs a subscription paywall; not all publishers deploy paywalls). 
     
  • One crucial determination is to ask yourself whether you need news content from the site (e.g., full text of an article or an image or video pulled from the site) vs. a need to immerse yourself in analysis of the entirety of the actual website itself, including many of its multimedia or digitally interactive elements?  Does your particular research call for seeing that content in the context of the original website, or, will seeing some key content contained within a news aggregator database suffice?  Keep in mind as well, third party aggregator databases add advanced search functions not likely to be present on that newspaper's site.  And if one seeks background reporting on a topic, location, person or organization that predates the Internet, the news aggregator databases usually offer deep archives for the newspaper analogs of that news website you are visiting.   

HERE ARE ADDITIONAL REMINDERS WHEN WORKING WITH NEWS OR NEWSPAPER CONTENT ONLINE
 

ACCESS TO SPECIFIC NEWS TITLES

  • Use the Library’s  journals list to identify which databases contain specific U.S. or non-U.S. newspaper titles
  • In cases when a news title’s website site license is available at SU, campus-wide, one of the linked access options one shall see via that journals list will not be a database name, but instead, the phrase, “publisher site” || Also true for non-newspaper periodical titles
  • Both ProQuest News & Newspapers as well as Access World News – are especially nimble in supporting browsing to specific back issue date news articles sourced from specific newspaper titles (chronological browsing)
    • In ProQuest News & Newspapers - click on the link near top margin of that database's site, labeled “publications”
    • In Access World News – begin at their “advanced” search screen and use the world map, or alternatively – click on that database's site, top marginal link labeled, “A-Z Source List”

URL INSTABILITY VS. URL PERMALINKS

  • URLs copied from browser windows at article level may be unreliable unless a publisher indicates that URL is durable, a document url or a permalink
  • Do not assume URL sharing will function seamlessly over time, especially if a link is copied from behind a website's subscription paywall, or copied from a browser window
    • Within many subscription news databases, browser window URLs will not be permalinks
  • If sharing article level permalinks or durable document URLs from SU Libraries news databases, to insure off-campus access via SUNETID login, be sure URLs shared include this prefix http://libezproxy.syr.edu/login?URL=
    • If not, add that proxy prefix to the URL and test that it works

 

INTERNET ARCHIVE – SCREEN CAPTURES OF NEWS WEBSITE PAGES

Not feasible for all news sites (e.g., does not work with NY Times paywall), but often the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine http://archive.org/web/ is quite good at capturing accurate, albeit largely static, screen captures of specific news website pages, including images and related graphics, assuming one has the URL for that desired page.  Internal page navigation and playback of embedded streaming video or audio may not function in that Internet Archive environment

 

MORE HELP NEEDED/SUGGESTING NEW SUBSCRIPTIONS OR SITE LICENSES

  • Contact a relevant SU Libraries subject librarian if you are using a news site in your discipline and you would like to know if campus-wide subscriptions are available or not, or if you would like SU Libraries to pursue a new subscription you believe may be available
     
  • Contact a relevant SU Libraries subject librarian or one of the Library’s various “Ask Us” services if you have additional questions about navigating within SU Libraries’ databases, for news and newspapers, or in general, including how to integrate SUMMON as a tool for getting to back issue news (or other periodical) titles, if an article title is known.

Politico - Is It True?

Journalists at Politico in 2018 have launched, "Is It True? - A Fake News Database."  That effort compiles online news that is a hoax, doctored or impostor news publications.  Politico accepts submissions from the public of news content falling into these categories.  For more information, visit Is It True?  About This Project.

Fake News

"Fake News" has become a highly charged phrase in the current U.S.political discourse and debate.  While you need not agree 100% with some opinions implied by this chart, Colorado Patent attorney, Vanessa Otero, received some viral attention with her highly detailed attempts to map out specific news (i.e., journalistic) sources- across a spectrum of trustworthiness and reliability.  For context on her reasoning behind this chart, which is certainly opinionated, visit her blog post entitled:

The Chart, Second Edition: What Makes A News Source “Good?”

 

SU Libraries Credo Information Literacy Tutorials also offer a short (5 min) video module on "How to Identify and DeBunk Fake News"

 

 

Vanessa Otero - Evaluating News Sources Table