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The Center for Media and Journalism Studies: Finding Related News Items

Research help for those looking for news-related information on the web, in libraries, and library databases.

Tips and Tricks

Research can be a lot like detective work. Finding background information on a potential story can be done a lot of different ways. Your tactics will probably be determined by the subject matter.

For example, if you're looking for background info on the latest state education legislation you could go to the source and start by visiting the Florida House of Representatives' and Florida Senate's websites to identify the sponsoring legislators and/or committee of origin. However, the history of education legislation might not be found entirely on the web. You may need to search for books or in the Libraries' databases to get the big picture. 

Following the trails of other journalists can often lead to new sources of information and help you break a new story. The path you take from start to finish will vary wildly from day to day, but we've listed a few standard strategies and tools on this page. 

Suggested Databases

Try these online databases to find full-text newspaper articles. Remember to choose FULL TEXT, if available.

Searching Newspapers

Most newspapers have an online presence where one can access some of the paper's content, but there are a few problems with relying on them for your research needs:

  • Some parts of the paper are restricted and inaccessible as many newspapers require a subscription fee to access all of their content.
  • Most newspapers do not have back issues archived on their websites so you may not find a story that ran many years ago. 

To access complete newspapers on the web you'll need to use the Libraries' databases. Instructions on accessing them is below.

Database Login for Students

To log in to the databases, you will use the same Rivermail e-mail address and password you set up to log into MyPioneerPortal. First-time users of MyPioneerPortal can create their password by following the instructions you receive in your activation email. To reset your password, select "Need help signing in." The librarians cannot reset MyPioneerPortal passwords, if you need additional assistance visit the tutorial on MyPioneerPortal. 

MyPioneerPortal Login

How to Log in to Databases

When to Use Databases

Databases contain online versions of newspapers, magazines, journals, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and book chapters. Since you access databases online, many people think they are websites. They are NOT websites. You must log in to gain access to databases because they are proprietary resources leased for use by IRSC students and employees. 

When searching databases, you can be more specific with your keywords for a more precise list of results. You can search within the title, abstract, or full text of the item. The hardest part of searching databases is knowing which one to choose. The IRSC list of databases offers brief information about each resource. You can also view the databases recommended by subject to help you more easily select appropriate databases.