Skip to Main Content

How to Find Country Information

Identifying Foreign Newspapers on the Web

The three databases described here, Factiva, ACCESS World News, and Nexis Uni, do, indeed, provide you with newspaper articles from the foreign press, and are updated continuously. Most newspapers worldwide are available over the web. What is available backwards through time, though, varies dramatically from paper to paper. So, if a timeframe is part of your search, you need to use those databases. However, you can do keyword searches on a specific newspapers website and you will get photos and, often, even video. Naturally, most newspapers and their websites are in the major languages of the country. However, many countries have English language papers. The best lists I have found of what is available, country by country, are on these web sites:

Web Sites for Current International News

Databases of Newspaper Articles

None of these databases is particularly easy to use. Factiva is the most powerful and international of the three. There is a link to a 2 1/2 minute video on it below as well as more detailed instructions and a handout you can download. 

Searching Factiva for Country News

Watch this 2-minute video demonstrating a search of Factiva for recent news articles about a country on YouTube at:

FACTIVA: I have good news, and I have bad news

The Good News: We have a database that will allow you to find English language articles from major news sources in other countries. You can even limit to those articles that are LONG, bypassing the many short newswire type pieces. That database is Factiva, and you can access it from the library's list of databases.

The Bad News: Searching Factiva is nothing at all like searching Google. You must construct a logical Boolean search statement, use field labels, and set specific geographical and date limits in order for this to work!

The Other Good News: See a picture below of the Factiva search screen with the areas you need to set specified. You can see where you need to select the geographic region you want the news source from, select the geographic region you want the story to be focused on (not the same thing!) and the dates. The default is currently set to restrict sources to English.

The Other Bad News: You need to construct a logical Boolean search statement you will want to use once you set those limits in order to make sure you only get long stories (at least 1000 words) focused on an issue, idea, person. To do that, you need to imagine what the news story would look like. What words might appear in the headline (HD) or in the lead paragraph (LP) of the story you want to read. This is very difficult, and you need to think deep thoughts about that and try a lot of different searches. For, example, if I wanted long news stories focused on COVID, I might run a search like this:

HD=covid* AND WC>1000

That search is looking for articles over 1000 words long with covid in the headling. The * allows for other things to be attached to that single word, like covid-19. Don't underestimate the importance the *.

NOTE: You can download a PDF handout of these instructions and the search image below the image.