How to Use Digital Newspaper Archives in Your Class

Using digital newspaper archives helps students gain new perspective about the past and present. As a journalism professor with a keen interest in history, I may be biased, but I’ve always found newspapers, particularly old ones, to be an effective teaching tool.

Newspapers provide snapshots of different eras across subject matters, ranging from history and politics to fashion and more. Back in the day, to explore old newspaper archives, students had to dust off containers of microfilm at school libraries and learn how to work microfilm readers. Given the time-consuming nature of the process, researching newspapers was not a practice in which most K-12 students, or even college students, engaged. However, today there are digitized newspaper archives that allow students easy access to tens of thousands of publications that date back several hundred years.