Sources of Information

News Media

The news media have developed a presence on the Web that is constantly expanding. Newspapers, magazines, television and radio networks all have a growing Web presence that can help you research a variety of issues. The New York Times, Public Broadcasting Service, and National Public Radio all have well-developed sites with a variety of content, and just about any network will have its own site with a good amount of freely available material.

The BBC has one of the most well-developed websites. It includes a special section of country profiles, which give essential information on the country along with links to news stories (including audio and video). If you were doing a project on a particular country, it might be a good idea to search the BBC site for material.

Often only some of the information will be available for free, with the rest available at a price. In many cases you may have access to these materials through SCC's databases—in particular, LexisNexis Academic and Ebsco Newspaper Source.

The media organizations mentioned above exist apart from the Internet but have established a significant Web presence. You will also find media sites that exist only on the Web. A couple examples would be Slate and Salon. These publications have a mixture of reporting and opinion pieces on a variety of topics. You'll also find sites that consist of opinion and commentary, with little or no original reporting. A prominent example of this type of site is the Huffington Post.

As we'll see in the Evaluating Websites section of this tutorial, you always need to watch out for excessive bias in websites like this, and also to think about the scope of the information they contain. News pieces are in general written for a popular audience, and therefore may present material in a less nuanced form than is sometimes appropriate for your research.