Sometimes called the "first drafts of history," journalistic sources such as newspapers and broadcast transcripts are important as primary sources for historical research and cultural analysis. They can be the best available sources for descriptions and interpretations of recent events, because it typically takes two years after an event for peer-reviewed publications about it to appear. Don't overlook interviews of scholars and other authorities in news stories nor commentaries by academics in editorial/opinion sections. Deadlines mean the news reporters cannot get "all the facts" right in a single story, so look for follow-up stories and for multiple, independent sources to validate claims. Note, too, that the convention that journalism is supposed to be objective, unbiased, and balanced is only about a century old, it is more deeply rooted in the US than elsewhere; and is contested as a professional and/or social value.
This guide identifies the VT Libraries' principal collections of recent and historical news sources, both from the US and abroad; general-purpose databases that provide significant news content alongside academic articles; directories of free online news archives; and Tech's streaming video collections, which offer historical, documentary and dramatic works.
Assume that VT Discovery Search (WorldCat Discovery) will not identify most news articles that are available to VT affiliates through library subscriptions. Get familiar with these platforms:
These are your best options for finding classroom-legal versions of programs originally offered on consumer-oriented streaming platforms like Netflix or Amazon, whose licenses exclude library use. This list highlights streaming sources that provide content most directly related to historical and social science inquiry. It is not an exhaustive directory to all our library's video providers.
Though covering many things, events, and people, these collections are curated within boundaries such as topic, creator, or medium. Free sources may become unavailable at any time.