Since it is no longer necessary for freelance writers to spend most of their days at the public library due to the advent of the Internet, much of your research can be conducted online. You can find information on just about any news topic, and usually from hundreds of different sources. One of the major hurdles is finding websites where the news information given is accurate. After all, if you write lots of inaccurate news articles, you’ll quickly lose your reader base.
If you’re a freelance writer looking for excellent websites on which to conduct your news research, here are my top six:
Websites for News Research #1: CyberPaperBoy.com
Freelance writers need newsworthy topics about which to write, which is why CyberPaperBoy.com comes in handy. They have a searchable database that connects to nearly 5,000 newspapers nationwide. You can search according to topic, date, newspaper or source, and it doesn’t cost you a penny.
Websites for News Research #2: Newslink.org
Called an “Essential Resource” by US News, Newslink.org offers links for newspapers, magazines and blogs all over the world. Major city newspapers can always be found here, as can the smaller publications in tiny towns in the U.S. This is great when you are looking up a story that took place in Alaska when you live in Maine. You don’t have to conduct a search engine scavenger hunt for the appropriate publication to have carried the news.
Websites for News Research #3: RTIR.com
While printed resources are always a plus, there are some articles and stories that require the direct word from an expert. If you’re writing an article about a disease, for example, your work will be much more powerful if you interview a medical specialist. RTIR provides freelancers and other media professionals with a database of authors and industry experts.
Websites for News Research #4: RefDesk.com
This site is almost like an almanac, encyclopedia, news source and information database, all rolled into one. If you’re looking for facts on a specific place or event, or if you’re just wanting to browse the latest news, RefDesk.com is one of the best sites for finding the information you need quickly.
Websites for News Research #5: FirstGov.com
Not surprisingly, many of the best news resources can be found by going straight to the horse’s mouth: the government website. FirstGov.com gives carefully categorized information on a variety of topics, from Health & Nutrition to Arts & Literature. Use this site to supplement your news articles with little-known facts and interesting trivia.
Websites for News Research #6: InternetNewsBureau.com
InternetNewsBureau.com provides you access to hundreds of thousands of press releases. Each day, they send their subscribers lists of new press releases, and these are great resources for your next news article. Just subscribe to topics in which you are interested or visit their website regularly.
Websites for News Research: Conducting News Research
There are plenty of other news resources out there for freelance writers, but these are my favorites. Remember that when you are researching news articles, you should always try to verify the information from two different sources. For example, if you read about a double homicide in USA Today, match the facts given in the New York Times. Even if your news articles are only going to be published on the Internet (such as AC), misinformation is dangerous.