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Journalism - Newspaper Research

Find primary sources for newspapers, find MIssouri newspapers, International newspapers, historical newspapers and info on doing newspaper research.

Historical Newspaper Research: Getting Started

When starting historical newspaper research for a research paper or thesis/dissertation:

  • Identify the time period you plan to research.
  • Use digital databases (a list of licensed historical newspapers can be found on the Historical Newspaper Research Guide) that index the newspaper you are researching. Some print newspaper indexes are available at MU Libraries Special Collections and the State Historical Society of Missouri. 
  • If MU Libraries does not own the digital version (.pdf) or microfilm of the newspaper you need, check the Historical Newspaper Research Guide  page.  If it is not listed on that page, check Worldcat to see if another library owns the microfilm.  If it is available, request it from another library using interlibrary loan.
  • Most digital news databases begin coverage in the 1990's, with some starting in the late 1980's, but they are often not a complete representation of the print newspaper. Freelance articles may have been removed due to the Tasini Case, a 2001 Supreme Court Ruling that freelance journalists must be compensated when database aggregators post born digital content online.  To avoid that payment, most publishers pull freelance articles before they are posted online . Therefore the only way to get the entire newspaper is either through microfilm or the digitized version (.pdf) of the whole newspaper. The Tasini Ruling exempted payment to freelancers for microfilmed or digitized newspaper content.
  • If your research is recent (1980's to date), use the Libraries' digital news databases.
  • Google News Archive searches some newspapers back to the early 1900's.  Use keywords to search a specific newspaper. Advanced searching is recommended.

Newspaper Research Resources

Newspapers on Microfilm