Finding Newspaper Articles
Need to locate a newspaper article? Check the Law Library's eJournals list, which will let you know if we have access to a particular journal or newspaper online, but you should also consult Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, and WestlawNext for their news coverage. Also, some newspaper databases may contain the full-text of articles or simply abstracts. This Guide will help you to determine which newspaper databases are most helpful.
The content of this guide was adapted from a guided created by Mary Ann Neary at the Boston College Law Library, and used with her permission.
Citation to Newspaper Articles
Many students are confused about citing newspapers due to the issue of print vs. electronic text of the newspaper article. Consult Bluebook Rule 16.6(f) for guidance: "Online newspapers are often used in place of print newspapers. Because the title, content, and publication date online may be different from the print version, the two sources should not be treated interchangeably unless the online source is an exact copy of the original as dictated by Rule 18.2.1(a). If an article is only available online, cite to it directly in accordance with rule 18.2.2; pagination can be included if available but is not necessary." The Bluebook also discusses newspaper citations in Rule 16.6, 16.8, and 18.2.2.
The Bluebook Rule 18.3.4 addresses the issue of sources available in two formats: print and electronic. The rule suggests that authors include a parallel citation to a commercial database to facilitate access.
At times, you may think your citation is to a newspaper article, but it is actually an article distributed by a wire service. Do not assume the citation is to a newspaper article, and check Bluebook rule 16.6(d) rule re wire services.
Unique Problems in Finding Newspaper Articles
- No article on that date: When you cannot locate the article using the date cited by the author, try searching a newspaper database using the article's title/author information. The news coverage date for an event may post-date the actual event because of publication delays.
- Different edition: Some newspapers publish different editions of the paper, meaning there may be a national or regional edition. Also, some newspapers have published late editions or evening editions in past years. These factors may make it unclear which edition the author is citing, and often make an article difficult to cite properly. Please consult with a reference librarian if you have problems with these issues.
- Content missing from the electronic version of a newspaper: Some content is not included in the electronic version of newspapers. Some examples of excluded content are: freelance writers' articles in the event the writer will not relinquish rights for the content to be reused in an electronic edition; special editorials or Op-Ed pieces written by non-newspaper staff (again, the newspaper does not have default rights to this content); and classified advertisements. The Bluebook Rule 16.6 details the citation format for newspaper editiorials.
- Born Digital Articles: Some newspapers are moving to electronic editions only, while others have much more content on their websites than in their print editions. For example, an article may appear in the Washington Post blog and never appear in the print version of the newspaper. Citation to the more stable, print versions of newspapers is only possible when the content being referred to actually appeared in print. For articles distributed exclusively on the newspaper's website, cite the electronic version in accordance with Bluebook Rule 18.2.2.
- News wire stories: At times, you may think your citation is to a newspaper article, but it is actually an article distributed by a wire service. Do not assume the citation is to a newspaper article, and check Bluebook rule 16.6(d) rule re wire services. Access to wire services for news coverage is available from the following vendors:
- Bloomberg Law - provides access to national and international news wire services. Also includes the extensive Bloomberg News network.
- Lexis Advance - pulls content from both U.S. and foreign newswires
- WestlawNext - provides access to national and global wire services in English and other languages.
Digital archives of newspaper articles are available from newspaper websites, and such databases as Bloomberg Law, Lexis Advance, ProQuest, and WestlawNext. However, these archives may not extend to dates earlier than the 1980s, and they do not always contain full image reproductions of the actual newspaper. Moreover, smaller, local newspapers may not have digital archives and articles from these papers may only be available from community's public library.
- Bloomberg Law (Login required)
Bloomberg Law provides access to the full-text of national and international newspapers and exclusive Bloomberg publications. Coverage varies by publication.
- Lexis Advance (Login required)
Lexis Advance is a leading source for newspaper articles. It provides full-text access to thousands of national and international newspapers, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Coverage varies by publication.
- Chronicling America
The Library of Congress runs Chronicling America, an ongoing effort to create a searchable database of American newspapers. The program provides images of newspaper articles from the mid-19th to the early 20th centuries. Full page reproductions are available.
ProQuest provides full-text access to a small collection of U.S. newspapers. ProQuest also provides access to full page reproductions of historical content from the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Afro-American. Coverage varies by publication.
- The Baltimore Afro-American (1837-1988)
The Baltimore Afro-American was a widely circulated African American newspaper during the late 19th and mid 20th centuries. Full page reproductions available.
- Baltimore Sun (1837-1988)
Offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issues.
- Baltimore Sun (1990- )
- The Christian Science Monitor (1988- )
- New York Times (1980- )
- Wall Street Journal (1984- )
- WestlawNext (Login required)
WestlawNext provides access to the full-text of national and international newspapers.
Newspapers in Microfilm
If you are checking a newspaper citation dating from past years, it is unlikely that you will be reviewing a print source. Due to the fragile nature of newspapers, many libraries retain microform collections of newspapers. The Law Library has a limited collection of newspapers on microfilm, please consult a librarian for more details.