Those beloved — and ever valuable — news researchers….
August 17th, 2005 by JTJ

Friend Barbara Semonche,
queen of the news research kingdom (queendom?) at the Univ. of North
Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications, posts these
always-pertinent observations today on the NewsLib listserv:

comm students will be returning to colleges and universities within the
next week or two. Time to get fresh examples for these emerging
journalists about just what news researchers are capable of doing for
and with them.

       Here is what I'm seeking for our beginning and advanced reporting students.

     Current (within the last couple of years or so)
examples/strategies of the research methods and sources news librarians
used for both investigative projects and breaking stories. Here is what
I have now:

1. Kathy Hansen's and Nora Paul's recent book, “Behind the Message: Information strategies for Communicators,”
has a classic example of a 1994 Minneapolis Star-Tribune story by
reporter Tony Kennedy which was enhanced by not only his investigative
research, but supplemented by the efforts of the Star-Tribune's news
research team. The case study in the book reprinted Kennedy's article
on the privately-held Schwan Company and then detailed each fact with
what resources were discovered and used.  Interesting note: the
local public library and librarian proved to be a gold mine of
information for Kennedy as did local interviews with former Schwan

Alison Head's (former head of research at The Press Democrat in Santa
Rosa, California) handout on the news research involved with a breaking
crime story. She took the text of reporter Tom Chorneau's 1995 article

highlighted all the resources used to get the data for the story. A
sort of “Anatomy of Crime Research.” [Note: please check this URL: ]

3. John
Martin's (St. Pete Times' researcher) 1998 description of how he worked
with a reporter on retrieving information on an alledged murderer's
identity on deadline. [Note: please check this URL:

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