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News Reporting - Oakland Campus: Background & Context

This guide is for Harry Kloman's ENGWRT 0610, Introduction to Journalism and Nonfiction.

Trends & Issues

Search by topic for news, magazine, and scholarly articles, scientific studies, government reports, or book chapters.

Resources for All Subjects

Academic Search Premier

CQ Researcher

Dictionaries, Almanacs, Biography, Encyclopedias

Reference & General

"The Newspaper of Record"

New York Times (Historical: 1851-2007)

Databases by Subject

1. Choose major category

2. Select a database to search, or a library research guide to learn more options.

See also:

Polling the Nations is an online database of public opinion polls containing the full text of 500,000 questions and responses from 14,000+ surveys conducted from 1986 through the present in the United States and 100 other countries around the world.

General Search Tips

Search Terms:

spelling, jargon, name changes, and other problems

If you are coming up with nothing, everywhere you try, it may be useful to use Google Scholar or Wikipedia to "spell-check" for you, and also to give you an idea of some other keywords associated with your event or topic.

You can use a Wiki entry in much the same way as you would an earlier newspaper article--to clue you in to names, dates, places, or other helpful information for your search (also check the Notes at the bottom for government agencies sited and for links to any university or other studies.)

Ye Olde Book Catalogue

Stay Classic, Olde PittCat!

Newspapers for Background & Context

Every breaking news story begins in the middle. To predict where the story might go tomorrow, it helps to know where it started, and what happened yesterday or last year.

Sometimes you can search a database for topics, events or names, sometimes there will be an index, and sometimes you will need to have a date in mind so you can find the stories on microfilm. You may also want to find comparable stories from other cities, national or international news:

Newspapers @ Pitt

Current local and regional newspaper articles can also guide you to sources for interviews, alert you to when and how to contact city, county or state agencies and officials involved in the story, and lead you to related legislation and elected representatives.

Historical news stories can be a Primary Source when writing about the past. They can also add a deeper background to a current story when it relates to a long-standing group, organization, or institution.

For example, Pittsburgh did not always have a Busway. In fact, we did not always have our current city bus system--you can find out how the Busway and our city bus system came to replace the previous private transit companies, who pushed for those changes (and against them) and why, by going back to the news stories published by various city papers during those years.

Allegheny Conference on Community Development Photographs, 1892-1981, MSP 285, Library and Archives Division, Senator John Heinz History Center

This Pitt Library Guide will help you find out what local and regional newspapers we have and how to find them, going back in some cases for 100 years or more: Pittsburgh & Regional Newspapers

Historic American Newspapers

Library of Congress

Free Full-Text of Historical Newspapers

Chronicling America


Sometimes You Just Need a Good Book (or at least a good chapter!)

PittCat+ Search Engine

PittCat+ Library Search

NOTE the "Advanced" search link to the right of the search box (Title, Author, other options)

USE the choices on the left of the results screen to limit for format, location, date, more

Old PGH Newspapers

The Daily Pittsburgh Gazette
5,794 issues
Feb 22, 1828 - Jun 27, 1865

Pittsburger Volksblatt
6,488 issues
Aug 8, 1859 - Dec 31, 1900

The Pittsburgh Commercial
3,097 issues
Apr 29, 1859 - May 4, 1965

Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette
6,079 issues
Jan 1, 1877 - Nov 23, 1901

The Pittsburgh Daily Commercial
151 issues
Sep 7, 1863 - Jun 30, 1864

The Pittsburgh Daily Gazette
1,050 issues
Mar 29, 1847 - Jun 4, 1872

Pittsburgh Daily Gazette and Advertiser
654 issues
Feb 24, 1816 - Mar 27, 1847

The Pittsburgh Gazette
5,350 issues
Mar 7, 1795 - Nov 12, 1962

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
22,000 issues
Mar 18, 1916 - Sep 28, 2007

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Sun-Telegraph
28 issues
Jun 1, 1960 - Jun 30, 1960

The Pittsburgh Press
28,963 issues
Jul 18, 1819 - Jul 28, 1992