One of the ways journalists add heft and credibility to their published work is by taking full advantage of the content found in databases like LexisNexis Academic.

The J-School has afforded each of you access to LexisNexis Academic, and in the course of the semester, you will be expected to add this database to your research toolbox, as you gather facts and data for your writing assignments.

In this session, we will use key terms and connectors to:

Create smart subject and person searches

Look for articles by byline,

Search for reviews or editorials

Look for articles from a particular publication

Lexis Nexis Academic has a relatively new interface.

The red-bordered search box is a clean and welcome space in which to harness all the content of the database – news, legal, company – to conduct searches.

The most important spot on this page is the search by subject or topic box on the right.

Click on that window and make your selection; for access to a wide basket of sources, choose the all news option.

To choose your sources, select advanced options.

My standard fare is Newspapers, Magazines, Blogs; it’s a good mix of sources and I can look for profiles as well as company information or research other issues driving the demand for news reporting.  I don’t worry as much about selecting the reviews, interviews or profiles options, because a targeted search will yield those types of articles, if they are indeed in the system.

You can also set date parameters for your search on this page

Note you have the option to drill down to a particular state; if you chose New York, you should now find yourself here:  your search basket

At this point you are ready to build your search.


The Search Strategy

While search isn’t formulaic, there is still a modus operandi to the practice of developing an effective search.

Once you’ve selected your topic, select your search terms.  

Think of words that should appear in your search results; nouns should take top billing – names, places, titles – the key terms you will use to write about your subject


Search Tools

The following search tools will prove helpful in refining your search strategy and in returning targeted results:

and and or are essential connectors and should find a place in the search strategy you build.   

DeBlasio and Sharpton returns only articles that discuss DeBlasio and Sharpton;         Murdered or killed or assassinated  returns articles that use any or all of the synonyms you used 

w/n locates terms within a certain number of words of each other; suicide w/25 veterans 

hlead (affordable housing) w/25 bronx and date is 2015 searches the headline and lead paragraph

byline (jeffrey sachs) searches by author’s name

publication (new york observer) retrieves only articles appearing in the New York Observer

! replaces an infinite number of letters;  legis! will search for legislate, legislator, legislation, etc.

atleastn searches for at least a certain number of mentions of a word in your article results.  atleast4(ISIS) searches for at least 4 (can be any #) mentions of ISIS; good for big topics and profile searches

length> searches for articles of greater than a certain number of words in length. community gardens w/25 bronx and atleast4(gardens) and atleast4(bronx) and length>500

***LexisNexis Commands at-a-glance sheet here

Your Results list defaults to relevance; you can choose to review newest or oldest record first.

On the left side of the page, sources are organized by type and name of publication