TVR 13100: Media Writing

About this Guide

The guide is a pathfinder to:
  • examples of media writing: (primary sources such as: ads, scripts, and press releases) 
  • databases used for researching information to write for the media  (secondary sources such as: how to books, background information, news, etc.) 
  • professional organizations and trade information (Writer's Guild, reviews, media analysis)
My presentation will be geared to demonstrating how to conduct research needed to write a documentary film script.

Google Pathfinder Template

Copy and paste this template into your own Google Doc or MS Word page.  


In Class Example

Documentary Scripts

Handbooks Researching a subject or beat: Background:
  • CQ Researcher
    Comprehensive reporting and analysis on current issues in the news. Each report includes an introductory overview; background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library
    Collection of  reference books covering, but not limited to, business and finance, philosophy, history, film, Jewish studies and ethics.
  • Opposing Viewpoints in Context
    Opposing Viewpoints in Context covers today’s hottest social issues, from Offshore Drilling to Climate Change. This database helps students research, analyze, and organize a broad variety of data for conducting research, completing writing assignments, preparing for debates, creating presentations and more.
  • USDA National Agricultural Library: National Invasive Species Information Center: entry on the Emeral Ash Borer
Scholarship: Finding Experts
  • Scholarly Articles:  EBSCO Research Library Searches across a lot of our subject indexes.
  • Books:  ARGOS (search on the front page of the library's website)  Searches our catalog and databases.  To limit to books that the library owns, choose Catalog from the Search Scope drop-down.
  • Books not in IC Library: WorldCat via FirstSearch  If we don't have a book we can borrow it from Interlibrary Loan.  Find books we don't own through WorldCat.
Newspaper Coverage
  • Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis)
    Nexis Uni features more than 15,000 news, business and legal sources, including U.S. Supreme Court decisions dating back to 1790.
  • US Newsstream  National, regional, news wires, transcripts and the Ithaca Journal
  • 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.
  • Facts on File World News Digest includes an almanac
Associations, Organizations, and Think Tanks, and Public Opinion
  • 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.
  • Advocacy groups and organizations will typically be mentioned in journalistic treatments such as news articles and the CQ Researcher, above.
  • Business Associations:  Business Insights Essentials  ex.  Search: Apple.  Under Industries, click "Electronic Computer Manufacturing"; from the left menu, click "Associations."
  • PolicyArchive
    Digital library of public policy research with more than 12,000 policy documents from about 220 think tanks and research groups.
  • 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.
  • National Conference of State Legislatures
    This website offers research and policy information on multi-state legislation. Particularly helpful is the Issues & Research tab.
  • 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.
  • Government Accountability Office (GAO)
    The GAO investigates and reports on the use of government funds for Congress. Full text copies of the reports are available by searching the site.
  • Congressional Research Service Reports
    The CRS publishes policy research reports for members of Congress.  EveryCRS report aims to compile them in one searchable place.  The University of North Texas library has collected them in its online archive.  See also: Secrecy News and Wikileaks.
​Related Guides:


Primary: find existing ads (current ads can be found on YouTube or Google: video)
  • Ad*Access   Historic collection from Duke U.
  • All-American Ads NC988.5 .A1
    Book series that compiles ads across decades.
  • Clio Awards Ads that won a Clio Award.
  • American Memory: Advertising Historic collection from the Library of Congress
  • 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) Historic ads
Secondary: databases Ad placement directories and research
  • Simmons OneView
    Simmons OneView(formerly Simmons Choices3) provides access to U.S. adult (18+) consumer data on product and brand usage, spending behavior, media usage/habits, and more. It can be used to create custom reports which analyze demographic and/or psychographic characteristics of product users and their media behavior.  It allows cross tabulation of hundreds of consumer product categories and usage data for over 8,000 brands, inclusive consumer media habits, diverse demographic categories and psychographic (attitudinal and lifestyle) profiles.  It consists of three parts: National Consumer Study (NCS), National Hispanic Consumer Study (NHCS) and New Media. Most recent data available is at least two years old. Our license allows for five simultaneous users.
  • SRDS Media Solutions
Ad data:
  • Alexa: an Company
    Alexa provides data on web traffic based on data from their global traffic panel and from sites that installed the Alexa script on their site and certify their metrics. 
  • Alliance for Audited Media
    Organization that audits circulation statistics and generates reports to assist advertisers and publishers with media sales. Formerly known as the Audit Bureau of Circulations.  Some free reports are available.
  • Nielsen TV Ratings from Zap2IT
    Ratings for various cable, syndicated, and sports programs on television. Data can be viewed weekly or by season and sorted by total households or total viewers.
  • New Strategist publications  (book series)
  • SMA | Sports Market Analytics
    Full text of current market research and industry news covering all facets of the sports industry: sports equipment sales, sports participation, sports broadcasting, sports sponsorship, sports market information, and sports sponsorship. SBRnet also has buyTRACK, by Harris Interactive, a tracking study of sporting goods purchasing habits on the Internet.
    TRENDWATCHING.COM and its 3,000+ trendspotters scan the US, Canada, European Union, Japan, South Korea, India, South Africa, Australia, Brazil and 50 other nations & regions for hot, emerging consumer trends and related new business ideas. Free monthly bulletin briefings are archived back to first issue (November 2002). 
  • TV Dimensions REF HE 8700.8 .T917
    Covers a wide variety of topics having to do with television viewership and programming including advertising, revenue, trends in viewing, etc. Published annually. Library retains 3 years in Reference.
  • Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB)
    Non-for-profit organization that promotes local television stations to advertisers.
  • U.S. Census Bureau
    Social, demographic and economic information. Includes the American FactFinder resource.

Broadcast Journalism

Primary: transcripts from library databases
  • Nexis Uni (replaces LexisNexis) Select:  Search by Content Type > Broadcast Transcripts
  • 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.
  • Newspaper Source
    Provides access to both national and international newspapers, and contains abstracts and indexing from the following papers (cover to cover): the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today. Abstracting and indexing for all titles and full text for the Christian Science Monitor begins 1/1/95. Coverage includes everything except obituaries (exclusive of famous people), sports tables, ads/classifieds, stock prices, and weather. Additional data provided by Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News: full text articles from 105 contributor newspapers. Additional data also provided by Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service: full text articles from 40 contributor newspapers. Total coverage includes over 500,000 articles.
  • if you're looking for a particular station, from the library's homepage go to the Articles tab. From the "Search for Journals" box, search a particular station.  Watch this brief video.
Primary: selected transcripts from websites:
  • C-SPAN
    Non-profit corporation funded by cable and satellite affiliates that provides public access to daily political events such as congressional debates.  
  • National Public Radio (NPR)
    A privately funded non-for-profit member organization, produces news, talk, and entertainment programs.  Member stations offer national and local programming.  Transcripts for radio programs are available.
  • Open Vault (WGBH)
    Free online streaming video of historically significant videos produced by WGBH. Includes transcripts. On a separate site is the WGBH American Experience television series; many of the the episodes can be viewed online.
Secondary: Articles about Broadcast Journalism: Secondary: Websites - Media Analysis:
  • Pew Research: Journalism Project
    Assesses the state of news in society. Includes a link to The State of the News Media Annual Report as well as other research reports and analysis.
  • On the Media
    On the Media is a National Public Radio Program that reflects on how the media covered events in the weekly news. It also discusses issues in the media such as freedom of information.
  • Poynter Institute
    An online site about reporting, writing, and editing.   Links to the top story of the day, along with links to the most recent articles submitted by various contributors and Institute staff members. Poynter's News University offers free self-directed courses such as Newsgathering Law & Liability: A Guide for Reporting or Watching TV News: How to be a smarter viewer.


Primary: screenplays Secondary: articles about screenplays: Reviews

Press Releases

Primary: Press Releases group file through the library
Primary: access directly
Go to a company site and check for news
  • Look for the News information on a company's site for PR releases.  Here is a short video to show you how.

Contact Us

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

Search Argos

Tell Us What You Think

Please take a moment to complete this very short survey. Your responses will help us to address any further questions you may have.

Prof. Ingraham's Class Blog


Selected Short Films

The library purchases Short films (fiction and nonfiction & animated):

Writing Help

Writers Guild of America

Loading ...