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By Adrian Janes


Abstract:

DocuTicker editors contribute brief articles to FUMSI on conducting research with grey literature - reports from government agencies, think tanks, research institutes and public interest organisations.


Item:

In my work as a contributing editor for DocuTicker, I research publicly available reports on a number of global topics. Here are some of my favourite resources for News:

Introduction to News Sources

As FreePint has recently been surveying its readership regarding their use of news sources, this seems an appropriate time to highlight some favourites in this area.

One of the fascinating developments that the Internet has brought about is an interpenetration of media, so that ‘newspaper' websites are now commonly a blend of text, pictures, audio and video. And, as part of the effort to maintain their relevance, they commonly provide regular updates to stories or add fresh ones, so that a web-based newspaper comes to resemble a rolling TV news channel. In the UK, the Guardian demonstrates some of the best examples of these features, with good coverage of domestic and international stories. As with many other newspapers now, journalists also blog on the site, providing extra information and commentary that does not feature in the actual paper. Unlike the Times (still largely out on its own in this respect), its content is not hidden behind a paywall.

This is not all - the site also provides a valuable World News Guide that gives links to major newspapers and governmental outlets in all regions of the world, in turn broken down by country.

In a similar vein, based on journalists Dan Miller and Jim Broderick's book ‘Consider the Source', The Newshole gives links to 100 sources. The page is a straightforward list of alphabetical logos, thus very clean and straightforward to use. These are mainly American, including papers like the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the major broadcast networks. There are also more obviously politically partisan sources like Rush Limbaugh and Mother Jones, although these can still be useful as a way of understanding how issues are being debated and perceived in America. Among the key non-US sources included here are Agence France Presse, Al Jazeera, Sydney Morning Herald and The Times of India).

Developing this international approach, a number of other sites present enormous collections of links to news outlets from all over the world. Some key examples are:

It is worth comparing the coverage of these sites, especially if you have an interest in a particular region or country. For example, while Newspaper Country offers 13 Chinese newspapers, Newspaper Index presents 10 and Online Newspapers 41. But unlike the other two, Newspaper Index does not indicate which language a source is in, while the others take care to indicate if their links are to publications in the English language or another one.

There are also other differences which may be found significant, for example:

  • Online Newspapers also offers a variety of categorised magazines. In the context of this article, probably the most useful one is Current Affairs, Culture and Politics.

  • The Paper Boy, after free registration, gives limited access to PressDisplay.com, which allows readers to view the day's front pages from a wide variety of publications. (There is also a paid subscription facility to enable access to all of their content.)

  • Newspaper Index can organise the countries listed by many languages, including Russian. However the titles themselves (and the content) remains in the original language, so this is not a great advantage.

In some ways Kidon Media Link stands apart, as it is a mixture of news media, including newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations. Applying the ‘China Test', it currently claims 334 news sources! A useful touch here is that these are broken down by City and Province, besides indicating the relevant language or languages of each source.

After following up various links from all of the above, it becomes apparent that the ostensible number of outlets offered is not quite so great. Some links no longer work, have been hijacked, or are not in fact in the language claimed. Additionally, one has to consider what is a practical number of sources to monitor, although of course where available an RSS facility can help with this task. Given the variations in coverage, the best solution would appear to be to comb each of these aggregators and create your own collection according to need and interest.

The help libraries can provide in keeping up with the news should also not be disregarded. The Special Libraries Association (SLA) has its International News Archives. (NB On this same page are links to specifically US, Asian and Canadian archives.) Especially useful here, as the name suggests, is the fact that for each publication the extent of the online archive is given, coupled with other useful notes like whether registration is required. It is not perfect, however; e.g. the notes on the UK's Financial Times omit to mention the need to register to access any substantial content, and the paid subscription necessary for unlimited access.

Finally, most public libraries, at least in the UK and America, give their members free access to newspaper databases. Here are examples from Essex County Libraries in the UK and the New York Public Library. These databases often do not present newspapers as published, but rather the plain text of all the substantial content. So as a rule there are no photographs; also, they may lag a few hours if not a whole day behind before they are updated. On the other hand they are searchable in various ways, have archives of over 10 years' extent, and library licences usually mean that their members enjoy remote access. You just need to register with your local library.


Related Posts from Docuticker

Americans Spending More Time Following the News
http://web.docuticker.com/go/docubase/60523

CRS -- The U.S. Newspaper Industry in Transition
http://web.docuticker.com/go/docubase/31251

The Holiday-Suicide Myth: Newspapers (and TV Shows) Return to Old Ways
http://web.docuticker.com/go/docubase/27766

How Teenagers Consume Media
http://web.docuticker.com/go/docubase/30890

Deloitte's State of the Media Democracy Survey - Third Edition U.S. Release: January 2009
http://web.docuticker.com/go/docubase/28659


 

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at adrian.janes@freepint.com

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