JMS 101 - Media & Society

last modified 2016-04-28T16:30:25-04:00

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Introductory Exercise

Throughout this course you will need to use a variety of resources to complete your research. Below are links to some of the most important databases you'll need to use, as well as other helpful information. If you want to talk to a librarian, feel free to contact Amy Gratz (email) or Lee Twombly, Subject Librarian for Journalism & Media Studies.

Information Cycle (video from Penn State)

Primary and Secondary Sources in Journalism

(Click here for a guide to Primary and Secondary sources in different disciplines)

Primary sources include not only first-hand or contemporary accounts of an event, but also any direct example of a media form or type. For example, a newspaper article from a local paper could be used as a primary source of how that paper writes and influences the local culture.

Secondary sources include articles and other sources which study the primary sources. For example, an article discussing how local papers influence culture would be a secondary source. Many secondary sources will be scholarly, but not all. (Click here for a refresher on scholarly verses popular sources.)


Databases for finding Secondary Sources

Communication & Mass Media Complete (EBSCO) — Provides access to quality research journals and publications in areas related to communication and mass media.

JSTOR — An online archive containing back issues of scholarly journals in many disciplines.


Databases for finding Primary Sources

LexisNexis Academic — Many types of publications, virtually all in full text: newspapers (in English, other languages, and translations of international papers), legal news, general interest magazines, medical journals, trade publications, company financial information, transcripts, wire service reports, government publications (such as the federal case law, U.S. Code, Code of Federal Regulations, Congressional Testimony, etc.), law reviews, and reference works (such as the Forbes Annual Directory, the Official Guide/American Marketplace and the US Global Trade Outlook).

ProQuest Newspapers — Provides full-text access to five major national newspapers. Coverage includes full-text articles but not advertisements, illustrations, or photographs.

Macon Telegraph Archive, 1826-1908
The Macon Telegraph Archive provides online access to early issues of the Macon Telegraph ranging from its inception as a weekly newspaper in 1826-1908, through the daily issues of the early twentieth century. Consisting of over 50,000 newspaper pages, the archive provides historical images that are both full-text searchable and can be browsed by date.

If you want to access articles from the Telegraph published more recently, Tarver has the paper from 1921-2001 on microfilm, and the Washington Memorial Library has from 2001 to present.

Mercer Cluster Archive, 1920-1970
The Mercer Cluster Archive is an online database of Mercer University’s Macon campus newspaper that provides access to the first 50 years of the publication. Consisting of over 5,000 newspaper pages, the archive provides images that are both full-text searchable and can be browsed by date.

If you want to access more recent articles, Tarver Library has the Cluster available in print and microfilm, as well.

Need other papers? Look at the guide on Locating Newspaper Articles for more websites and links.


Tips and Tricks

  1. Start searching now! The earlier you start, the more options you have for sources. You may need to request articles or books via Inter-Library Loan (ILL), and this takes time.
  2. Brainstorm!  Once you've chosen a topic, think about different words/phrases and search those in the database. Don't forget to use some of the search techniques we discussed today!
  3. When you find an article that is right on target, check the reference list for other sources.  You may need to ask a librarian to help you locate articles from this list, or you can try using the guide or video tutorial on Locating Full Text Articles on your own.
  4. Not sure whether you should use the sources you've found?  Apply the C.R.A.P. test!
  5. Don't forget about books! Use the library catalog to look for books about media and society, or journalism in general. The Journalism Subject Guide has some helpful places to get started.
  6. If you've never used an e-book, this guide on ebrary might be helpful.
  7. If you're having trouble finding sources on your topic, ask a librarian for help! There are other places to look, and we're happy to help!