JOUR 11200: J Research

Directories of Publishers

PLAN: Find Stories

Once you have decided on a story idea, be sure to brainstorm on key words and subjects.


FIND: Existing coverage

What was already written?  Read over secondary resources. Looking for a particular newspaper, magazine or broadcaster? Search the ARGOS journal A-Z feature (found under the Databases tab of the library's homepage).

FIND: background, experts, facts, images

Find experts by limiting to academic, scholarly, or peer reviewed publications.  Also, look at the "Public Policy" guide to the right; many think tanks documents are written by experts (often with a distinct point of view).
  • ARGOS Search (see the search box, upper right column). Searches most of our databases, LexisNexis, books, and videos
  • EBSCO Research Library
    The EBSCO Research Library searches across nearly 40 EBSCO databases.
Experts will also author books. BIOGRAPHY
  • Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis)   Click the All Nexis Uni down arrow and check the box for Directories.  Where it says Search, type, for example, Robert w/2 Iger
  • Current Biography
    Reference Stacks CT100 .C8
    Objective articles on people who are prominent in the news, in national and international affairs, the sciences, the arts, labor and industry.  Click "Search within this Publication" above Publication Details to find what print volume a person appears.
  • Consider the authors of scholarly books and journal articles,  members of policy think tanks, government officials, and organizations related to the story idea.  
  • When visiting colleges and universities, look for a Media Relations page.
  • SPJ's Journalist's Toolbox lists some additional web resources.
  • 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.
  • CIA World Factbook
    Provides basic history of all countries  - includes maps, population, history, politics, economics, education, communications, transportation and military data.
    Annenberg Political fact check site.  Use to discern the truth behind all kinds of political, scientific and public policy claims.  
  • PolitiFact
    A project of the St. Petersburg Times, PolitiFact is a website that examines truth in politics.
  • Facts on File World News Digest Includes editorial cartoons & the current World Almanac (see the tab at the top of the page)
  • World Almanac and Book of Facts
    REF AY67.N5 W7
  • SPJ's Journalist's Toolbox lists some copy editing blogs and writing handbooks. If you get an error message, refresh the screen.
Many of these resources contain speeches, public records, and laws -- primary sources. STATISTICS
  • Statista
    A statistics portal that provides data on over 80,000 topics from more than 10,000 different sources.  The content is purely aggregated statistics, geared towards business and marketing statistical needs, with a focus on current awareness.  Easy-to-use infographics and tables are available for download as images to insert into presentations.
  • ProQuest Statistical Abstract of the United States
    HA202 .U5
    The authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States. The final edition from the US Census is the 2012 edition.  The current editions by ProQuest are in  Reference behind the Research Help Desk.
  • New York State Statistical Yearbook
    REF DESK HA544 .A2
    Annual publication from The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government that covers demographic and population information such as: births, deaths and household characteristics by county and selected cities, economic information, elections, government finances, employment, health, human services, housing, education, criminal justice, agriculture and the environment among others.
  • Data USA
    The most comprehensive visualization of U.S. public data. Data USA provides an open, easy-to-use platform that turns data into knowledge.  The software code is open source - users can build custom applications by adding other data.
    Compilation of data from several sources. Users can generate maps and graphs on all kinds of state statistics and comparisons.
  • NationMaster
    A central data source and handy way to graphically compare nations. NationMaster is a compilation of data from such sources as the CIA World Factbook, UN, and OECD.  Use the search form to generate maps and graphs on all kinds of statistics.
  • American FactFinder
    Current population, housing, economic, and geographic data from the US Census Bureau.  Includes the Annual Survey of Manufactures, Economic Census, Current Population Estimates, Business Patterns, and American Community Surveys.  The Guided Search walks you through each step in picking the data and/or geographies you want to download.
  • (Center for Responsive Politics)
    This site by the Center for Responsive Politics reports on PACs, donors, soft money and lobbyists in U.S. elections.
  • Follow the Money (National Institute on Money in State Politics
    Organization that tracks campain money in state-level elections. 
  • 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.
  • UNdata
    UNdata pools major UN databases and those of several international organizations - browse, search and download data from a large number of statistical databases. Data categories include: agriculture, education, employment, energy, environment, health, human development, industry, information and communication technology, national accounts, population, refugees, trade, and tourism.
  •   Investigative Reporters and Editors site to make Census data available for reporters.

EVALUATE: for accuracy and fairness

Who are the parties involved in your topic? Are there interest/advocacy groups? Is there an individual that is addressing or instigating the issue? Are there policy questions that think tanks are writing about? Are thre local, state, or federal laws?  What led up to the event? Recognize the cultural, organizational, historical, political and other contexts of the information gathered.

  • Alternative Press Index
    Index to articles in alternative news sources. Use to research topics that may not be well covered in the mainstream press; 1991 to current.
  • Black Newspapers
    Black Newspapers is a collection of current newspapers providing access to news from 1989 to the present,including Afro-American Red Star, Call & Post (A&I), Chicago Defender, Houston Post (A&I), Michigan Chronicle, Muslim Journal (A&I), New Journal & Guide (A&I), New York Amsterdam News, and the Los Angeles Sentinel.
  • Ethnic NewsWatch
    Ethnic Newswatch is a full-text collection of the newspapers, magazines and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press. Contents include African American, Arab and Middle Eastern, Asian American, European, Jewish, and Native American publications, including the Spanish-language press.  
  • GenderWatch
    GenderWatch is a full-text database containing 140 international publications plus reports, pamphlets, papers and conference proceedings devoted to women's and gender issues. It is a repository of materials on gender issues worldwide, the evolution of the women's movement, and the changes in gender roles over the last twenty years.
  • LGBT life with Full Text
    World's literature regarding Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender issues. (Was GLBT Life with Full Text)
CHECK FACTS (see above)

Nexis Uni: News Segment Search fields

Compiled by LexisNexis:

You can search fields by typing the section and then the search term in parenthesis. ex. city(Philadelphia)
  • Body: The text of the article.
  • Byline: In newspaper articles, this section contains the name of the person identified as the author. When searching journals or other publications, you would use the "author" section.
  • City: Usually, the city in which the piece of news took place.
  • Company: Particularly useful when looking for SEC filings, this is simply the company name.
  • Country: Usually, the country in which the piece of news took place.
  • Date: The publication date. You can use most date formats and also use arithmetical operators such as DATE(>1/1/2008)
  • Geographic: The geographic region of the story.
  • Headline: In newspaper articles, this section contains all headings and subheadings of the article. When searching journals or other publications, you would use the "title" section.
  • Hlead: In newspaper articles, this section contains the headline, highlight, and lead sections. When searching journals or other publications, you would use the "title" section.
  • Industry: This document section will search industry indexing terms.
  • Language: This indicates the language in which the document appears in the database.
  • Lead: In newspaper articles, this section contains the first few sentences or paragraphs of a story's text.
  • Length: A numerical value and arithmetically searchable. This section will show the number of words in an article. For example, if you want to make sure that all of your results are full-length articles, try LENGTH(>500).
  • Organization: This document section searches the organization index terms.
  • Person: This document section searches the names of persons indexed in the document.
  • Product: This document section searches the name of products indexed in the document.
  • Publication: Contains the copyright and publication name.
  • Publication-Type:  News, Transcripts, Wires, etc.  
  • ​Section: This section contains the section and subsection of a document as well as the volume, issue, and page number.

Nexis Uni: Search Commands

Tips from LexisNexis:
  • Universal or Wildcard Characters   use ! to truncate ex. child!,  use * to replace a letter ex. wom*n
  • Using the W/n Connector  Use the W/n connector to find documents with search words that appear within "n" words of each other. The value of "n" can be any number up to 255.
    ex. william w/3 hearst
  • Using the W/p (Within Paragraph) Connector Use the W/p connector to find documents with search words that appear within the same paragraph. You may also use W/p when you want your search words to have a general relationship to each other. ex. rule 11 W/p sanction
  • Using the W/s (Within Sentence) Connector Use the W/s connector to find documents with search words that appear within the same sentence. You may also use W/s when you want a close relationship between words without specifying an exact proximity. ex. sanction W/s frivolous
  • Using the ATLEAST Command   Use ATLEAST to require that a word or words appear ‘at least’ so many times in a document. Use ATLEAST when you want only documents that contain an in-depth discussion on a topic rather than just a mention. ex. atleast10(cercla)
    Note: use this when searching law reviews or broadcast transcripts.

Nexis Uni YouTube Tutorials

LexisNexis posts short training videos to its YouTube site.  If you don't find what you need, contact Cathy; she can create an instructional video for you.

Nexis Uni: Using the Advanced Search Form

Contact Us

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

Search Argos

Handout: Basic Reference Sources

Use this handout to answer questions on your Library Exercise worksheet:  Reference Sources   

Handout: In Class Practice

AP Stylebook

There is a copy at the Reference Desk in the library -- just ask the librarian on duty to borrow it.  
Associated Press (AP) stylebook and briefing on media law
REF DESK PN4783 .A83
Journalism style manual that includes basic media law information. Issued annually.  Ask to see it at the Reference Desk.

Pulitzer Prize Winners

Take a look at the list of Past winners & finalists for the Pulitzer Prize.  There are many categories such as: Explanatory Journalism, Investigative Reporting, National Reporting, Breaking News, Public Service, Local, etc.

Manage your research: template

Copy and paste this template into your own Google Doc or MS Word page as one method to manage your research.


Research Method

The following method is loosely based upon a document, Information Literacy Competency Standards for Journalism Students and Professionals. (pdf)

  • What information do you need? What is your story idea?
  • Identify what sources are best to use for your story
  • How will the information be obtained? How much will it cost? How long will it take to obtain it?
  • Create your research strategy. 
  • Make a consultation appointment with Cathy!
  • Accessing information may include using Interlibrary loan, checking out a book, and accessing primary resources.
  • As you work you'll add and subtract information as needed. New questions will emerge.
  • Keep your information organized in a reporters notebook.  Keep citations in Noodlebib, Zotero, or Google documents.
  • Summarize your information.
  • Access the credibility of your sources and double check all facts.
  • Recognize the cultural, organizational, historical, political and other contexts of the information gathered.
  • Synthesize the information "big picture" and identify additional information based on related ideas or contexts.
  • Consider how the new knowledge found compares to what was previously written.
  • Check public sentiment and expert opinions.
  • Re-focus the story as needed.
  • Draft the story based on guidelines (ex. AP) and media outlet.
  • Quote from you research and paraphrase as needed.  Support claims with data and research.
Follow professional guidlines by the SPJ, Poynter, NPPA, RNTDA and others:

J Organizations

BEATS: use Research by Subject sites

Look at other Research by Subject pages for subject specific / beat information:

Primary and Secondary

Refer to this guide to learn the difference between primary and secondary sources.

Frequently asked question: 

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