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NEWS - Finding and Tracking Reliable News

How to Track a News Item Through Time

There are multiple ways to track a story - stick to just the news reporting on the event or look for related articles, then sort by date. 

When tracking a national or international news story you want to use more than one news source. For purely local news, you may only have a small weekly paper to peruse or an app "news service" like Nextdoor.

Below are some suggestions for building a more comprehensive background and timeline of a story or event. We also list some of the special features of newspapers where hard to find information might be located.

Tracking the News

As events are happening, search using keywords:

One Local Newspaper - Az RepublicEast Valley TribuneOther Arizona Newspapers websites
    ASU's full text ejournal subscriptions to Arizona
    newspapers via AZ news in Access World NewsEthnic NewswatchAmerican Indian Newspapers, and Arizona Republic

One Major US Newspaper (for example)

New York Times
free public edition online or sign up for ASU's web site access (
Click here to see the instructions.)
   ASU's full text ejournal subscription is in 
ProQuest News & Newspapers

Wall Street Journal
    free public edition online or sign up for ASU's web site access
    ASU's full text ejournal subscription

Other major US newspapers in Access World News, Nexis Uni, or  ProQuest News & Newspapers 

One Major News Network  - (any one will do, but remember their point of view bias - conservative, liberal, non-US, etc.)

    TV/Cable/Internet examples: CNNFox NewsMSNBClocal TV news showsTelemundoUnivision,  and Television News Archive

    Radio/Internet examples:  NPR Public RadioBBC News (radio)

One of the following (Sunday Edition preferred). Looking at these will provide you with a broader perspective of what is happening nationwide in your topic area, including economically, cultural and social trends, and in the government.

New York Times
free public edition online or ASU's web site access
ASU's full text ejournal subscription

Washington Post
free public edition online
ASU's full text ejournal subscription

Christian Science Monitor
free public edition online
ASU's full text ejournal subscription

Chicago Tribune
free public edition online
ASU's full text ejournal subscription

Los Angeles Times
free public edition online
ASU's full text ejournal subscription

Times (London)
free public edition online
ASU's full text ejournal subscription

If you find that you need to research an older event or your event has earlier related incidents, please use these historical sources:

   ABI/INFORM Complete 1923-

   Applied Science & Business Periodicals Retrospective 1913-1983

   Economist Historical Archive, 1843-2014

   Los Angeles Times, 1985+

   ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The New York Times 1851-2014

   ProQuest Historical Newspapers: The Washington Post 1877 - 2002 

   Readers' Guide Retrospective 1890-1982

   Times (London) Digital Archives, 1785-2009

or any of the sources covering the time period needed listed in Historical Newspapers - UK & beyond, Historical Newspapers - The Americas, or 20th & 21st Century News Sources

The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has been around since the mid-1990s. The advantage this source has is that it archived the internet. This means we can find things not findable through the usual sources.

Tips for Using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine in Your Next Investigation - Global Investigative Journalism Network -

The Internet Archive is a nonprofit library that, this year, is celebrating 25 years of advancing the mission of “universal access to all knowledge.” It is best known for the Wayback Machine — the service I currently manage — which archives and makes available much of the public web at the rate of more than 1 billion archived URLs per day. ...

Newspaper Helpful Features and Public Notices

 Legal Notices, while the definition varies slightly by newspaper, are usually public publication of information required to be published in the newspaper of record, a newspaper of general circulation, or as ordered by the courts.  You can find eminent domain, divorce, marriage, death, debt, planning and zoning changes, and many other interesting notices in the Legal Notice section or even in the PERSONAL ADS section of a newspaper. Legal Notice can also be required for certain events of corporations or quasi-governmental agencies like some utilities or regional agencies.

Many local governments like cities and townships declare a "Newspaper of Record" at the beginning of their fiscal year as required by their charter. This could be the local weekly newspaper or a major newspaper. The newspaper named as the "Newspaper of Record" then publishes all official notices related to that government. That is where the public can expect to be informed of decisions and actions of their government. If the charter does not require a newspaper of record, it may require naming a list of the "Newspapers of General Circulation" where such information is published. This is more often use by counties and courts. Corporations and quasi-governmental groups, such as utilities and regional agencies, also are required to publish some types of documents in a "Newspaper of Record" or "Newspaper of General Circulation."

As the newspaper era changes, some of these notices are now only online, since some newspapers have ceased printing a paper copy. We have not yet reached the era when publishing on the government or corporate web site is sufficient public notice of official actions.

The other concept of "Newspaper of Record" is newspapers that function as recorders of events. The New York Times, The TImes (London), Chicago Tribune, LA Times  and even the Wall Street Journal (Eastern Edition) have functioned this way nationally for years.

Famous people get their own news story of their deaths, but newspapers have an official notice section called Obituaries (Obit for short). While some newspapers have moved to fee based obituaries, others have free, but minimum notice. Always check the newspaper of the locale where the person lived or used to live.

Unsure of where it would be published? Try some of the free to search newspaper indexes to get a date then check your local library for the online or microfilm copy of the newspaper. A list can be found at the website created by Death Indexes

Real Estate sales usually must be published. Currently, there may be only the street address and the sale prices, but at one time these ads contained names of both buyer and seller. Legal land description were sometimes used years ago, but now that the USPS has provided street addresses even in rural areas, the street addresses may be preferred for publication. The county recorder and the county assessor will have the legal land descriptions.

The society pages are good places to research names of famous people, including CEOs and other executives of major corporations and non-profits. This is especially true for finding charity work.

In earlier centuries, the society pages often had gossip columnists like Hedda Hopper, Walter Winchell, or Louella Parsons, the major gossip columnists for the golden era of film. There are many others. While gossip columns deal in innuendo, they were very much a part of how famous people and events were perceived. Today, there are television shows and entire mainstream magazines devoted to this type of news.

Want Ads, especially the Personal section, can contain legal notices and announcements besides their use in murder mystery stories. Historically, this section has been a treasure trove of tidbits about famous persons.

The Federal Register is the most prominent public notice document published by the US Federal Government. Older editions are available in pdf format from

US Government contract awards were published in the Commerce Business Daily until 2002 when it moved to FedBizOps. It is now called Contract Opportunities under the site.

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