News and journalistic sources

For the last few years, news sites have become a powerful supplement to regular periodicals and television news programs. For example, while watching a news story on CNN, you can turn to your computer and go to CNN Interactive to find a list of related Web sources, watch or listen to simulcasts of important related events as they happen, and download pictures. Magazines like the Atlantic Monthly maintain sites (see The Atlantic Unbound) where readers can discuss articles in message forums, contact the author of an article, find updates to older articles, and search the publisher's archives.

News sources are good for looking deeper into a story with late breaking, specialized, or interactive information which often cannot be crammed into the confines of programming schedules and printed space. They are also good for finding archival transcripts of full articles. In general, however, they are bad sources to cite in an academic paper for the simple reason that information posted on news sites is ephemeral. Because news sites have to be updated constantly, the article that you cite in a paper this week, may be moved to a different URL or deleted entirely by next week. Some readers may also prefer to have a citation from the original publication. If there is a printed version of an article you find on a news Web site available at the library, find the printed version and cite it instead.

Accuracy and authority issues often apply with Web news sources as well. Examine the four sites below. Which would be reliable sources and why? How might you use these sources?

















Version 1.2
© Copr. 1997 Craig Branham
BRANHACC@SLU.EDU
Saint Louis University
Created: 27-March-97
Last Modified: 24-Oct-97

URL for this Document: http://www.slu.edu/departments/english/research/page2.html