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Newspapers as Primary Sources

Black and white image of the frontpage of "The World" newspaper from February 22nd, 1892.

Technology and war transformed the news during the late 19th century.  According to Anthony R. Fellow, "Wartime reporting introduced the development of the "special correspondent" and widespread journalistic use of the telegraph to speed news transmission."  Fellow describes how the Civil War impacted the nation's press in several ways:  newspapers became "big business," Sunday and extra editions were introduced, news agencies including the Associated Press were developed, the newspaper syndicate was developed, and the concise "inverted pyramind" reporting style emerged. 

Postwar newspapers began to resemble modern papers, becoming more impartial in order to hold government and business accountable.  Fellow explains that "newspapers became more interested in investiative reporting, rooting out corruption in city politics and industry."*

Help: Analyzing Newspapers

*Fellow, A. R. (2009). History of journalism: 1861-1930. In C. H. Sterling (Ed.), Encyclopedia of journalism (Vol. 2, pp. 701-707).

Help finding newspapers in the UW Libraries

  • Search our Microforms & Newspapers Collection database to see which newspapers we hold in print and on microfilm. 
  • Use UW Libraries Search to locate newspapers (online or on microform) by title or place of publication. Type in the place AND newspaper. For example:  Seattle AND newspaper. On the results screen choose the Resource Type "Journals" from the left toolbar.
  • Use the databases on this page for news stories published about your topic. 

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