JOUR 25000: Journalism History

About this Guide

Use this guide as a pathfinder to a variety of library resources for journalism history.  The focus is on resources that index stories before 1980.  Consider the date of your event prior to choosing a resource.  Contact me for research assistance:

Reference Sources

Search for Books

Use the Advanced Search tab.

Sample search:
press coverage [as a phrase] in Subject

Sample search:     
In [Subject] AND History In [Subject] AND United States [as a phrase]
You can also try ILL (borrow from another library free of charge) for books unavailable or not held by IC Library.

Sample search:   
Mccarthy [keyword]  AND journalism [keyword]

*Note: Ebooks appear with [electronic resource] in the title

Search for News and Magazines

Use these instructions if you are searching for a particular newspaper, magazine or news outlet by title:
  • On the library's homepage, go to the "Articles"  tab
  • Go to Find a Journal.  After "Title begins with: " type the name of the newspaper (ex. L.A. Times), news outlet or program (ex. NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS, 60 minutes), magazine (TIME, Newsweek, Life, Rolling Stone)  or translation service (ex. BBC Monitoring).
  • If we have access, click on the database name.  Note the date range of coverage.
  • Plan A: If we don't have access, we can try borrowing microfilm reels through Interlibrary loan.  A lot of libraries keep old papers, not in print, but on microfilm reels.  The library has a special microfilm reader.
  • Plan B: If you prefer, Cornell University, a research library, has holdings in microfilm of many newspaper titles.  I recommend calling the library to be sure that you can access the title. Here is their Visitor Privileges page.  Also, as printing is for a fee, bring along a flash drive or be prepared to email yourself the information. Research Guides from Cornell (you can use databases onsite only):
    News Research: Finding the News
    Newspaper Indexes in Olin Library - International
    Newspaper Indexes in Olin Library - U.S.

Databases: Best Bets

  • Readers' Guide Retrospective
    Database containing comprehensive indexing of the most popular general-interest periodicals published in the United States and reflects the history of 20th century America. The complete database covers the years 1890 through 1982. Use to research contemporary writings on general news areas as current events, business, fashion, politics, crafts, education, history, sports, food, science, theater reviews, and film reviews.   We may have the fulltext in print or microfilm.  If not, submit an Interlibrary loan request.
  • New York Times (1851-2013)
    The full-text of the NY Times. Includes all images and advertising.  Search for names, events and concepts and view a summary of an article, a PDF image of the article or the entire page of the newspaper.   1851-2008
  • Wall Street Journal (1889-2000)
    Includes the full text, full image, and advertising. Search for names, events and concepts. See a summary of the article as well as an image of the article or the entire page of the newspaper. Use the Date option at the bottom of the screen to limit your search to particular dates.  1889-1994
  • Watch a short video on how to search NYT and WSJ historical news together.
  • Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis)   Search for news coverage for a period of time by setting the date range. Better for news from the late 20th century to current (approximately 1980 forward though coverage varies by title).
  • America: History and Life
    Citations and some abstracts for journal articles,book reviews, and dissertations on US and Canadian history, prehistory to the present. Covers historical topics and a variety of disciplines including popular culture, gender studies, anthropology, literature and folklore.
  • Communication Source
    Communication Source offers worldwide full-text content pertaining to communication, linguistics, rhetoric and discourse, speech-language pathology, media studies and related fields and includes many unique sources previously not available. Content is derived from academic journals, conference papers, conference proceedings, trade publications, magazines and periodicals. 
Selected history titles in CMMC
Browse Atlanta Review of Journalism History from 2009-present
Browse Film and History from 1971-present
Browse Film History from 1987-present
Browse Media History from 1998-1 year ago (fulltext)
Browse Media History monographs from 2005-present
Browse Newspaper Research Journal from 04/01/1979 to 1 year ago
Browse Journalism History from 1990-present
  • General OneFile
    Current journal and news information in humanities, education, business, science, art, politics, economics, social sciences, law, health care, computers, technology and environmental issues.
  • Academic Search Premier
    Multi-disciplinary database which includes a large collection of peer-reviewed journals in many areas of academic study including: archaeology, area studies, astronomy, biology, chemistry, ethnic & multicultural studies, law, mathematics, music, physics, psychology, religion & theology, women's studies, and other fields.  Coverage varies, but begins in the 1990s for most journals.

Historical Bound Periodicals

Here is a list of some of the historical print periocials available on the 4th floor of the library:
These are all heavily illustrated with prints, photographs, and/or advertising.
For images in other popular magazines, click here.

Special Collections and Archives

Special Sources
  • Associated Press (YouTube) Archive Video
  • Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers
    A Library of Congress and National Endowment for the Humanities site containing more than 226,000 pages of public-domain newspapers from California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, Virginia and the District of Columbia published between 1900 and 1910.
  • Facts on File World News Digest
    Facts on File World News Digest provides Information on issues, events, and people from 1940 to the present. Features include country profiles, primary documents, key issues, newsmaker profiles, and newspaper editorials. The database incorporates World Almanac and Book of Facts.
  • Historic Mexican & Mexican American Press
    Documents Mexican and Mexican American publications published in Tucson, El Paso, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sonora, Mexico from the mid-1800s to the 1970s.
  • I. F. Stone's Weekly
    Copies are available from January 17, 1953 through December 1, 1971 in PDF format.  See the website for terms of use.
  • Internet Archive Includes the CNN Transcript Collection and a News and Public Affairs collection (see also listed as the "Prelinger Archives" below)
  • National Public Broadcasting Archives (NPBA) and the Library of American Broadcasting (LAB)
    The Mass Media & Culture special collection at the University of Maryland Libraries is an archival collection of audio-video recordings, broadcast transcripts, pamphlets, periodicals, photos and other materials focusing on the history of broadcasting. 
  • List of online newspaper archives (Wikipedia)
    Lists online newspaper archive projects by nation and by state. Distinguishes free collections from fee-based ones.
  • Media History Digital Library
    A non-profit initiative dedicated to digitizing collections of classic media periodicals about cinema, broadcasting, and recorded sound. Collections feature extensive runs of several important trade papers and fan magazines.  
  • Mike Wallace Interview
    Collection of broadcasts from the the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. Interviews from the the early 1960s broadcast features leading senators, artists, and politicians from the period.
  • National Security Archive (at George Washington University)
    Declassified documents pertaining to national security obtained by FOIA requests.  Contains collections such as the Torture Archive (primary sources related to the detention and interrogation of individuals by the United States).
  • New York State Historical Newspapers
    The Old Fulton NY Post Card website includes a database that searches New York Historical papers (prior to 1922) including ones from Ithaca. Note: the design of the site is curious...
  • Newseum
    Front pages from US newspapers and international newspapers are posted daily. Geographic and alphabetical by title searching is available. 
  • Newspaper Pictorials: World War I Rotogravures
    Rotogravures from 1914-1919 that , "track American sentiment about the war in Europe."
  • UCLA News and Public Affairs (NAPA) Collection  The UCLA Film & Television Archive’s News and Public Affairs (NAPA) Collection consists of over 100,000 news programs and broadcasts taped off air from 1979 to 2003. Titles from the collection can be made available for research viewing on the UCLA campus in the Instructional Media Lab (IML), located in room 270 of the Powell Library. Viewing requests must be made in advance through the Archive Research and Study Center (ARSC).
  • UCLA Library Broadcast NewsScape (2005-present).  Contains streaming news content to the UCLA community.  Streaming of current news programming from major networks will be embargoed for 30 days.  
Archival Coverage of Special Events
  • Superstorm Sandy  National Association of Broadcasters released these mini-docs, "highlighting the role of local radio and TV stations during Superstorm Sandy...The videos were produced by the University of Oklahoma and University of Alabama..."
  • Understanding 9/11 : A Television news archive From the Internet Archive this is, "a library of news coverate of the events of 9/11/2001 and thier aftermath as presented by U.S. and international broadcasters. "
  • 9/11 : The College Press Responds  Available in PDF format from the Associated Collegiate Press.
  •  : Hurricane Katrina. "Latest news, photos, videos and complete archives of storm, struggle and recovery"
  • Shots of War: Photojournalism during the Spanish Civil War
    Contains photos of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) from the Mandeville Special Collections Library at UC San Diego.

Audio-Visual Resources

  • American Women Making History and Culture
    A collection of historical (1950s-70s) audio recordings concerning women and the women's movement produced by a consortium of Pacifica Radio and the UC Berkeley Social Activism Sound Recording Project.
  • BBC Motion Gallery
    BBC programming (over 70 years) available for licensing.  The BBC has partnered with Getty Images.
  • Museum of Broadcast Communications (MBC): Archives
    Located in Chicago, the MBC provides publications, events, a searchable archive, and a Radio Hall of Fame to preserve and protect the history of radio and television. MBC's archives includes television and radio programming, commercials and images.  Users must register for a free account.  Check the Digital File Available box to retrieve fulltext. NOTE:  the archives server is currently not working; MBC is working on it and it should be fixed by Fall 2013.
  • Mike Wallace Interview
    Collection of broadcasts from the the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. Interviews from the the early 1960s broadcast features leading senators, artists, and politicians from the period.
  • Prelinger Archives
    Over 48,000 films, 90 old time radio audio clips, 2,000 game videos, 250 independent news clips and much more (including educational films, cimmercials, stock footage, advertisements and industry films)   Here is the page for  "News & Public Affairs"  They also added a TV News Archive tab to their site that works like the Vanderbilt TV News archive, below.
  • Television News Archive (Vanderbilt University)
    Index to television news broadcasts from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN as well as special events coverage. Users must register prior to searching. Tapes can be borrowed for a fee paid by the requestor. 1989+
For example:
  • The best of See it Now (DVD4347) "Narrated by CBS News correspondent Mike Wallace, The Best of "See It Now" features impressive highlights from one of TV’s earliest documentary series, hosted by Murrow as his crossover from radio into television during the 1950s. Revolutionizing how news was delivered in a visual medium, See It Now let viewers become intimate with the people who were directly shaping world events"

Contact Us

picture of Cathy Michael
Communications Librarian
(607) 274-1293

Search Argos

Model History

Streitmatter, R. (2016). Mightier Than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History. Boulder, Colo: Westview Press.
see also: Profile: Rodger Streitimatter,  School of Communication, American University, Washington, D.C.


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