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Bridge Program: Find Articles

This guide has information that will show you how to find a crime report in a newspaper, and also show you where to look for statutes.

Newsstream - Newspaper Database

This database includes full text coverage of 150+ major U.S. newspapers. Search this database to find newspaper articles about the criminal charge you have chosen to research. 

Here are the steps to finding an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune online in the McFarland Library database Newsstream:

  • Go to the McFarland Library homepage (www.smsu.edu/library)
  • Click on the tab for A-Z database list, then click the dropdown and choose 'Newsstream: US News Sources'
  • When Newsstream loads, click the Publications tab (this will let you find the Minneapolis paper and not search all the papers in the US)
  • Type in Star Tribune
  • You will get a list of five publications--the second one on the list is the newspaper (the others are blogs, etc.), click on it
  • When the page loads, you are looking at information about the newspaper. There is a search box part way down the page where it lets you 'search within this publication'--you type in the type of crime you are looking at for that week: for example, burglary.
  • When you get the results list, you need to remember to get an article that was printed in the last 18 months. The results list is listed in 'relevance' order (the order that the search word showed up the most in). To rearrange your results list, you change the dropdown in the upper left from Relevance to Most Recent first
  • Now your list will have all the articles that have the word burglary in it, and the most recent will be first in the list!
  • Make sure the article you choose has a crime that was not just committed, but had someone charged with that crime.

 

Crimes to find

  • Week One – Any Crime
  • Week Two – Property Offenses (theft, criminal damage to property, burglary, receiving stolen property, trespass)
  • Week Three – Person Offenses (homicide, sex offenses, assault (including domestic assault and stalking), kidnapping and false imprisonment)

Newsstream assignment: Tip #1

Think about the search term you've chosen. If you don't get the results you expect, try using a related search term.

  • When you're searching in the newspaper database, keep in mind the term a lawyer might use could be different than what the newspaper editor chooses to write in the article.
     
  • For example, you might try using the term homicide instead of murder, or "drunk driving" instead of driving while intoxicated.

Newsstream assignment: Tip #2

Don't forget:

  • Your article must be current--no older than 18 months ago.
     
  • It is recommended you search the Star Tribune for a crime that occurred in Minnesota, so you can use the Minnesota Statutes. Be careful: not all crimes reported in the paper happened in Minnesota!
  •  
  • Make sure someone was charged with the crime you are looking up

Alternate Source - Print Newspapers

You can browse through a print newspaper to find an article.

  • The Local or Metro sections of the paper will likely yield the best results.  The Sports section would have crime articles if the crime involved an athlete, and the front page carries major stories (though you have to pay attention to see what state the crime was actually committed in). 
     
  • Print newspapers for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press are available on the Main floor of the Library, as well as The New York Times.  Feel free to browse through them.  Don't cut from the papers!  Scan or photocopy, please!