TVR 46000: Media, Human Rights and Public Opinion

About this guide

This guide supports a senior seminar concerning the mass media's coverage of human rights issues and its effect on public opinion. 

EBSCO Research Library

EBSCO Research Library
The EBSCO Research Library searches across nearly 40 EBSCO databases.

Government Documents and Coverage

Federal Government
  • FDsys (GPO's Federal Digital System)
    The Government Printing Office's (GPO) Federal Digital System (FDsys) provides public access to government information submitted by Congress and Federal agencies. Search or browse  for documents and publications.  Use the Advance Search form to search by date or specific publication title (Congressional Record, Code of Federal Regulations, Federal Register, Bills, Hearings, the United States Code, etc.). Fulltext primary source documents are available in both PDF (downloadable) and XML formats.
  • Federal News Service
    LexisNexis file containing: White House briefings and Presidential statements. Includes some Congressional hearings, National Press Club Speeches and conferences when they address major topics of current interest.
  • Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) 1861-1960
    Digital facsimile of these government documents. Covers 1861-1960 with some gaps. Also available in print and microfiche at JX233.A3rn
  • Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) 1961-1975
    Digital facsimile of these government documents See also IC Library stacks & microfiche at: JX233 .A3 for earlier volumes
  • Congress.gov
    Contains United States legistative information.  It plans to replace THOMAS.gov.  There is currently a chart comparing of coverage dates between the two sources.
  • White House
    Official site for the Executive branch of the Federal Government. Includes speeches for the President and Vice President, press briefings, and information on appointments, nominations, and cabinet departments.
  • U. S. Department of State
    Department of the United States government that oversees international affairs.  It includes a page on Human Rights.  It inlcudes a link to U.S. Treaty Reports.
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
  • National Security Agency (NSA)
  • C-SPAN
    Non-profit corporation funded by cable and satellite affiliates that provides public access to daily political events such as congressional debates.  
State Government

Public Opinion, Influence and Think Tanks

Public Opinion and Data:
  • Polling the Nations
    A compilation of public opinion surveys, containing the full text of questions and responses from 14,000 surveys from 1986 to the present in the United States and more than 80 other countries. Each record includes the polling organization responsible for the poll, the sample size and the date the poll was released.
  • Pew Global Attitudes Survey
    Gauges public attitudes toward globalization, democracy, and other issues. Users can view all of these reports on the site and also see the datasets used to craft each report.
  • Pew Research Center for People and the Press
    Organization that conducts national surveys on the politics and the media. Includes data sets, reports, and links to polls.
  • Gallup.com
    Presents daily briefings on a single current topic, as well as recent Gallup Poll findings for public opinion on politics, government, eocnomics, and management. (also in LexisNexis)
  • Harris Interactive
    Public opinion polls.
  • Roper Center
    Public opinion polls.
  • Eurobarometer
    Public opinion data from the European Commission. Data has been gathered since 1973.
Political Influence: Political Blogs:
  • Newstex Government and Politics Blogs
    A LexisNexis file of blogs by politicians, United States agencies, and some additional political blogs by individuals.
  • Daily Kos
    Progressive community blog.
  • Drudge Report
    Aggregated news feeds from Matt Drudge. Some original reporting. Considered conservative leaning.
  • Huffington Post
    Edgy leftist blog founded by Arianna Huffington.
  • Nation : Blogs
    The Nation magazine\'s blog site. Includes: Campaign 08, Editor\'s Cut, The Beat, Actnow!, The Dreyfuss Report, Capitolism, The Notion, And Another Thing.  Liberal perspecitve.
  • National Review : Blog Row
    National Review magazine's Blog Row includes: Bench Memos, Campain Spot, The Corner, Frum, Kudlow, Liberal Fascism, Media Blog, Phi Beta Cons, Planet Gore, Pryce-Jones, and Tank.  Default is to The Corner. Conservative perspective.
  • Politico
    Online magazine with blogs covering American politics.
  • Talking Points Memo (TPM)
    Josh Marshall's political blog.
  • TNR Blogs
    The New Republic: A Journal of Politics and the Art magazine (TNR) hosts the following blogs: The Plank, The Stump, The Spine, The Flack, and The Vine.
  • Weekly Standard : The Blog
    The Weekly Standard, a conservative news magazine, includes a blog, "Today's Standard."
Think Tanks:
List of Think Tanks (Wikipedia)
An international listing by country of think tanks. For the United States, there is also a list by political or economic leanings. 
  • Annenberg Public Policy Center
    University of Pennsylvania public policy center that provides expert analysis on political communication, information & society, media & children, health communication, and adolescent risk.
  • Aspen Institute
    Public policy institute that promotes values-based leadership.
  • Bill of Rights Institute
    The Bill of Rights Institute provides resources for educating the public about founding documents
  • Brennan Center for Justice (NYU)
    New York University School of Law. Think tank that addresses problems of democracy and justice. Site covers the following issue areas: Access to Justice; Campaign Finance Reform; Courts &Government; Immigrant Rights; Liberty & National Security; Criminal Justice Reform; Voting Rights &Elections; and Wages, Jobs &Economy.
  • Brookings Institution
    Public policy think tank that supports research in a wide array of areas including: education, Asian policy, children, socio-economics, health care, Middle East policy, taxation, etc.
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    Think tank founded in 1910 that promotes peace between nations. Maintains programs on: China, Democracy & the Rule of Law, the Middle East, Nonproliferation, Russia &Eurasia, South Asia, & Trade, Equity & Development.
  • CATO Institute
    Libertarian think tank founded in 1977 that provide research in the following areas: Bioethics, Education &Child Policy, Government &Politics, Immigration &Labor, Law &Civil Liberties, Regulatory Studies, National Security &Foreign Policy, Budget &Tax Policy, Energy &Environment, Health &Welfare, International Economics, Political Philosophy, and Telecom, Internet & Information Policy.
  • Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
    Think tank on national security policy.
  • Center for Policy Research (Syracuse University)
    Collection of essays on current public policy issues in aging, health, income security, metropolitan studies and related research.
  • Council on Foreign Relations
    Foreign policy think tank. Publishes the journal Foreign Affairs.
  • Guttmacher Institute
    Public policy institute focused on advancement of women's sexual and reproductive health through research, education, and policy changes.  Subjects include Abortion, Contraception, Pregnancy and more.
  • Harvard Kennedy School
    Public policy research from Harvard. Information can be accessed under the Research & Publications tab.
  • Heritage Foundation
    Research institute promoting conservative public policy.
  • Institute for Policy Studies
    Founded in 1963, IPS is a progressive think tank dedicated to social justice.
  • National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Papers
  • National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA)
    Nonpartisan policy research organization that advocates for alternatives to government regulation in favor of self-regulation of the private sector.
  • Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD)
    Group of eleven citizens that questions the authority of corporations to govern through writing, legal research, public speaking, etc.
  • PolicyArchive
    Digital library of public policy research with more than 12,000 policy documents from about 220 think tanks and research groups.
  • RAND Corporation
    Think tank that publishes reports in the following issue areas: Arts, Child Policy, Civil Justice, Education, Energy &Environment, Health &Health Care, International Affairs, National Security, Population & Aging, Public Safety, Science &Technology, Substance Abuse, Terrorism &Homeland Security, Transportation & Infrastructure, &Workforce &Workplace.
  • Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
    Site includes the following databases: Facts on International Relations and Security Trends; Multilateral Peace Operations; Data on Military Expenditure; Data on Arms Transfers; Data on Arms Production; Database on National Export Control Systems
  • Transgender Law & Policy Institute
    Contains an up-to-date listing of all laws in the US that are transgender-inclusive and resources and information on legal issues affecting transgendered and gender variant people in the US.
  • U.S. PIRG
    A federation of state Public Interest Research Groups that advocates for the American public on a variety of issue areas: product safety, toxins, health care, transportation, politics, media, taxes, higher education, etc.
  • Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law
    Based at the UCLA School of Law, the Williams Institute provides law and public policy guidance in the field of sexual orientation through research and scholarship.

Organizations & Associations

Highlighted Reports: Organizations and Associations:
  • Amnesty International
    Advocates for human rights around the world. Search the library page to find AI reports.
  • Association de la Presse Internationale - International Press Association (API-IPA)
    Organization of foreign journalists established in 1975 and based in Belgium.
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    Think tank founded in 1910 that promotes peace between nations. Maintains programs on: China, Democracy & the Rule of Law, the Middle East, Nonproliferation, Russia &Eurasia, South Asia, & Trade, Equity & Development.
  • Committee of Concerned Journalists (CCJ)
    Consortium of journalists, publishers, owners, and academics that are concerned with the future of the journalism profession.
  • Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
    International organization that promotes press freedom. 
  • Council of Europe
    The Council of Europe, founded in 1949, seeks to develop throughout Europe common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights. There is a Human Rights tab on the website.
  • Country Reports on Terrorism
    Annual report by the Secretary of State that examines terrorism around the world, terrorist safe havens, terrorist organizations, state sponsors of terrorism, WMDs, etc.
  • Environmental Performance Index
    The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks countries' performance on high-priority environmental issues in two areas: protection of human health and protection of ecosystems.
  • Eurobarometer
    Public opinion data from the European Commission. Data has been gathered since 1973.
  • Freedom House
    Organization that monitors freedom, democracy and human rights worldwide.  They publish the following reports: Freedom in the World, Freedom on the Net, Freedom of the Press, Nations in Transit,  Countries at the Crossroads,  and Women's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, 
  • Human Development Reports
    From the UNDP, the Human Development Reports is a annual publication that examines global progress. Includes data and statistics.
  • Human Rights Watch (HRW)
    Advocacy group defending human rights around the world. Site can be searched by country or by issue area. Many free documents can be accessed under the publications page. An annual film festival is held.
  • HuriSearch
    Human Rights search engine that searches across websites. 
  • Inter Press Service (IPS)
    Global news agency that commits itself to underreported stories. Global themes include: Poverty, Civil Society, Sustainable Development, Globalisation and the South, Dialogue among civilisations, and Human Rights &Gender issues. Member of the COM+ Alliance of communicators for sustainable development.
  • International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
    The ICRC, established in 1863, works worldwide to provide humanitarian help for people affected by conflict and armed violence and to promote the laws that protect victims of war.
  • International Criminal Court
    Website of the court, an international organization seated in The Hague,  governed by the Rome Statute.  It was established to convict crimes of concern to the international community such as the Criminal tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda. They have a YouTube channel and a Twitter feed.
  • International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX)
    Founded in 1968 IREX is a nonprofit organization that provides leadership and programs that improve education, independent media and foster civil society development.  Reports such as the Media Sustainability Index are posted to their website.
  • Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE)
    Offers training, holds conferences, gives awards, and provides resources for investigative journalists. The Resource Center is particularly useful for practitioners.
  • Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR)
    Worldwide journalism organization that, "gives voice to people at the frontlines of conflict, crisis, and change"
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • ReliefWeb
    A project of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) it provides news, statistics, reports and other information related to humanitarian relief, including updates to crisis situations, refugee camps, and other relief efforts.
  • Reporters without Borders
    Advocacy organization that defends journalists, fights against censorship, and works to improve the safety of journalists worldwide. They publish the Press Freedom Index.
  • Social Progress Imperative
    Organization that values social progress in addition to economic prosperity when measuring development. They publish the Social Progress Index.
  • Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics. and Public Policy
    The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy is a Harvard University research center dedicated to exploring and illuminating the intersection of press, politics and public policy in theory and practice.
  • United Nations Development Programme
    UNDP works in nearly 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. They produce the Human Development Index (HDI)
  • United Nations
  • USAID Development Experience Clearinghouse
    Provides reports on USAID efforts in developing countries. Most topics of the files are related to public health, environmental, and development issues.
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  • World Public Opinion
    Articles present major public opinion survey results for specific nations as well as global patterns of world public opinion.  Includes links to topics, including development, globalization, trade, human rights, and countries/continents.

Recommended Reading

Reference: Class Reading:

Journal Articles

Contact Us

picture of Cathy Michael

Cathy Michael

Communications Librarian
(607) 274-1293

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LexisNexis Help: News searching

LexisNexis maintains a wiki of help screens to their product.  The library subscribes to an Academic product for colleges and universities. There are other professional and subscription products sold to practitioners; the content may differ based on what is licensed.

You may need to limit your results using boolean search operators or searching specific sections of a document:
  • Boolean searching  This page lists and defines proximity operators such as w/p (words within the same paragraph), w/s (words within the same sentence), atleast (you can say you want a word to appear atleast5 -- at least 5 times in the article which increases the relevancy), etc.
  • Advanced Search: Build your own search.  If you want to search by headline, byline, city, company geographic region, person, publication, etc. you may have build a search using segments.  This page explains what segments are and how to build a search.
These are wiki pages that define specific searchs in LexisNexis Academic:

Clicking the GET IT arrow

GET IT icon

When searching, if you see the "GET IT" icon, click on it. You'll be taken to the full text or to ILL if full text is unavailable.

Twitter: sites to search old tweets

Current news intertwines with social media; it often will quote tweets and twitter handles.  Here is an article looking at ways to search old tweets:

Karthikeyan. “5 Best Sites To Search Old Tweets.” DigiSecrets.  Web. 2 Sept. 2014.

Topsy tops the list.

Related Guides

Questions to address in your paper

  • Did media coverage shape public opinion and if so how?
  • Was the media coverage objective balanced, neutral and fair?
  • Did the media contribute to the health of the democratic system or did it merely help entrench stereotypes?
  • How did the media handle the protection of human rights (if relevant) was the issue of HR ignored, was it part of the conversation?
  • Did public opinion influence or impact public policy (was public opinion manufactured and maneuvered)?  
  • Did the media speak with one voice? Did political ideology sway the discourse? Did it seem as if various political actors and lobbyists were swaying the media in different directions.
  • What in your opinion was the role the media played if any with regard to this issue? Did it sway  public opinion or merely reflect it?

Country Guides

News:  Guides to Press Freedom
  • Freedom House
    Organization that monitors freedom, democracy and human rights worldwide.  They publish the following reports: Freedom in the World, Freedom on the Net, Freedom of the Press, Nations in Transit,  Countries at the Crossroads,  and Women's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, 
  • Reporters without Borders
    Advocacy organization that defends journalists, fights against censorship, and works to improve the safety of journalists worldwide. They publish the Press Freedom Index.
General Country Guides
  • CIA World Factbook
    Provides basic history of all countries  - includes maps, population, history, politics, economics, education, communications, transportation and military data.
  • BBC News: Country Profiles
    Full profiles provide an instant guide to history, politics and economic background of countries and territories, and background on key institutions. They also include audio or video clips from BBC archives. Contain information on the different types of press available in the country.
  • Country Reports
    Cultural, historical, and statistical information for countries.
  • World Maps and Country Profiles (World Press Review)
    Search by country or region for maps and news.

News Portals on the Internet

News:  Directories
  • Newslink
    Portal to newspapers, radio and t.v. stations, magazines, and international news. Can browse by state or search by city.
  • Newspaper Map
    The "world's largest newspaper site" allows users to browse a world map of news.  Use a search box to focus on a location.  There is a language feature for translations.
  • Online Newspapers news portal
News:  Video Search
  • ARGYLEtv
    Distributes international television programming worldwide in numerous languages.  Try clicking one of the counties at the base of the homepage to begin. May require a special plugin to view; Many not run on Macs.
  • Blinkx
  • OVGuide : Online Video Guide
News: Wires and Digests (some are also available via LexisNexis)