Newspapers in the United States

News – Newspapers & Magazines – Articles in Legal research

Good sources for finding newspaper articles include:

  • Publication Web Sites
  • Commercial Databases
  • Document Delivery Services
  • Libraries
  • Publishers
  • Historical Resources

A. Publication Web Sites: If you needed an article from a particular newspaper or magazine, your first stop would probably be the publication’s web site. You can find newspaper and magazine web sites by:

B. Commercial Databases: Lexis, Westlaw, Ingenta, ProQuest Dialog and Factiva all offer excellent search capabilities for locating articles from a wide array of newspapers and magazines. Databases can even be relatively inexpensive if you’re just pulling an article or if your firm/company/schools/etc. has a special fee arrangement with the database company.

Some news databases are available through the web sites of public libraries (such as the Cleveland Public Library), private law libraries (such as the Jenkins Law Library), colleges and universities. Leading institutional database vendors include Proquestand Newsbank. These are powerful databases, generally provided for free, so be sure to take advantage of whatever you have available.

Other news databases, such as Press Display and Highbeam are aimed at individual subscribers and have relatively inexpensive subscription fees.

If you subscribe, Full-Text Sources Online will tell you which databases have which publications, with links to free web sites and information about the depth of each resource.

Negative News: Lexis Directory of Online Sources has a series of “Negative News” databases that are particularly useful when you are digging for dirt: All Negative News (NEWS;ALLNEG); Negative News from the past two years (NEWS;CURNEG); negative news from the past 90 days (NEWS;90NEG) and Negative News Today (NEWS;TDYNEG).

International Newspapers: The World News Connection on ProQuest Dialog is an excellent source for news from a wide range of countries. Lexis Directory of Online Sources has particularly strong international content grouped into a variety of useful databases, such as Major Non-U.S. Publications (NEWS;MJNUSP) and World News from the past two years (WORLD;CURNWS). If you have a subscription, BBC Monitoring Online provides news from otherwise less-covered countries. World Press Review is a good, free aggregator for international news.

College Newspapers: The U-Wire database has articles from hundreds of college newspapers. U-Wire is available on Lexis (NEWS;UWIRE) and Westlaw (U-WIRE).

C. Document Delivery Services: Document delivery services will send you copies of newspaper and magazine articles for a fee. They generally work out of a large library, such as NYPL Premium Services (212-592-7200). For more names, links and numbers see the entry for “Document Delivery Services.”

D. Libraries: Libraries are the place to go for copies of news articles if you need (a) publications not available from an electronic sources or (b) photocopies or microform printouts that let you see the page layout, the advertisements, the pictures, etc.

To find which libraries get a particular newspaper or magazine, some researchers generally:

  • Look in a local Union List, notably the Union lists published the local chapters of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) and the Special Libraries Association (SLA) or
  • Search the online catalogs of likely libraries, especially libraries with good document delivery services (see “Document Delivery Services”) or
  • Search OCLC’s WorldCat and/or
  • On occasion, they have just called or dropped by a likely library to see for themselves.

If you need to get a copy of a publication from a library that doesn’t have a document delivery service, you can hire a document retrieval service (see “Document Retrieval Services”).

E. Publishers: In many cases you can get a copy of an article by calling the newspaper or magazine itself. Sometimes they charge, sometimes they don’t. Some publishers have good document delivery services, and some will ruin your day. Good luck and keep smiling.

F. Historical Resources: Good places to look when you are trying to find older news articles include:

    1. The Google News Archive, which searches a broad collection of news sources, some of which go back 200 years. You can limit your search results by years.
    2. The Library of Congress posts Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, which lets you search and see images of selected newspapers from around 1980 through the 1930s.
    3. The Proquest Historical News database includes articles from top U.S. newspapers going back at least to the early 19th Century. Proquest Historical is available through many academic and public library Web sites. Although the database is not available directly from the vendor, Proquest posts information about the database.
    4. has articles from over 1,000 newspapers spanning the 18th through the 20th Centuries for a relatively low annual fee.
    5. Libraries, discussed above, are your best bet for finding articles not readily available online.
    6. If all else fails, call the newspaper or magazine itself. Almost all papers have a collection of their own back issues.

Whole Issues

This section discusses various sources for getting whole issues when you know which newspaper or magazine you are looking for.

Current Issues: The easiest way to get the current issue of popular newspaper and/or magazine often is to buy it at a newsstand. Alternatively, you can buy the issue directly from the publisher, borrow it from a local library or read/copy it at a local library. And many publishers put the contents of the current issue on their websites.

Back Issues: To buy back issues of popular magazines contact a used magazine store such as Future Memories (800-660-0566), Avenue Victor Hugo Books (781-871-1787) and the others posted at

Alternatively, if you have access, you can get images of back issues of newspapers using ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Images of even older papers are available in the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers project, including papers from around 1880 through the 1930s.

Other Options: You may be able to buy back issues of newspapers and magazines directly from the publisher; borrow them from a local library; and/or read/copy issues at a local library.

For more information on buying and borrowing alternatives, see the separate entry for “Periodicals.”

News – Newspapers & Magazines – Circulation Information

Circulation data for U.S. newspapers and magazines is compiled by the Alliance for Audited Media or “AAM” (formerly Audit Bureau of Circulations or “ABC”) and published in FAS-FAX Reports. Current circulation data is available in ABC’s Total Circ database, and considerable data from the Reports is posted on AAM’s Free Reportspage. For more information, call the ABC Service Department (847-879-8267. Note: There is a U.K. equivalent with similar data on its Web site (

Circulation information is also available in the Standard Periodical Directory and theNational Directory of Magazines, both by Oxbridge Communications.

Finally, I have been told that U.S. newspapers and magazines must publish their circulation figures at least annually. Many do, often in a box in one of the first or last few pages of an issue. If you can’t locate that easily, you could call the publisher and ask for help.

For related entries, search “News” as a Subject.

Clipping & Monitoring Services

Clipping services review news sources to see when a person, company, product or subject is mentioned. Most of this work is now done by computer. You can set up an Alert on Lexis, a Westclip on Westlaw or a Clip on Factiva to automatically pull new news articles mentioning the name or a person or company, a phrase or any other search you set up from a database with articles from a particular newspaper or magazine – or a larger database with a selection of newspapers, magazines and/or newswires. There are also free monitoring services that search Internet news, such as Google Alerts and Talkwalker and apps such as News360. Other sites let you set up alerts as RSS feeds.

Alternatively, Burrelle’s (800-631-1160) monitors almost 2,000 print periodicals and will look for articles that mention a company name, person, subject or other keyword that you need and send you the relevant articles when/if they show up.

Nielsen Buzzmetrics monitors company and product names mentioned in blogs.

Other systems that monitor and provide selected news content include Lexis Publisher,BNA Convergence, Ozmosys and Shift Central. For more, see “How do we make them read?” from the 3 Geeks and a Law Blog (looks in the Comments after the article for even more). For systems that find law firm client alerts, see the “Publications, Blogs, etc.” section of the Law Firms entry.

See Also

Newspapers: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Newspapers. This part provides references, in relation to Newspapers, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Newspapers by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Newspapers and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Newspapers or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Newspapers and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Newspapers. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Newspapers should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Newspapers when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

Leave a Comment