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BGSU 1000: Information Literacy: Step 1: An event happens

This resource is designed for use in the BGSU 1000 course.

Case Study

August 29, 2005: Hurricane Katrina makes landfall in Lousiana.

Hurrican Katrina landfall

(Image courtesy of the NOAA-NASA GOES Project.)

This is breaking news. Facts are reported as soon as possible, with little in the way of analysis. Corrections may be necessary later if early information proves incorrect. It's much too soon to see the big picture.

Midnight bulletin from the National Hurricane Center

Transcript of CNN broadcast, running updates from

Television News Archive footage from NBC (RealPlayer required) audiovisual coverage unfolding on the 29th

News as It Happens

We live in a media-saturated world. As soon as something newsworthy happens, information about the event begins to flow through TV, the radio, and the Internet. Better, clearer, and more thoughtful information will become available later in the process, but Step 1 is all about fast facts with a dose of speculation.


News on the Internet can be found on the websites of individual news providers, such as the BBC and Reuters, and also on news aggregation sites, which pull together headlines from multiple sources. To brush up on your Web-searching skills, check out this short video.

TV & Radio

Cable news networks such as CNN, Fox, and MSNBC offer 24-hour coverage both on TV and on their websites, and they can be a good source of up-to-the-minute information as an event unfolds.

Searching LexisNexis

Unlike the other Web resources listed, LexisNexis is a library database, which means that it's very powerful and comprehensive but a bit more complicated than the rest of the search tools. Access to it is also limited; if you're off-campus, you'll need to log in with your BGSU username and password.

You should see six boxes on the basic search screen. To look for news articles, you'll want to search in the box labeled Search the News. For news releases from the day of an event, you'll want to search just for wire services (like the Associated Press) or transcripts of broadcasts.

But what if you want to limit to a certain date range? On the left side of the screen, you can choose Power Search for an advanced search mode.

Power Search is intimidating.

On the bright side, you can ignore most of it; just select All News (English) or Broadcast Transcripts under Select Source: By Type:, then set your preference in the Specify Date menu.