Product Review of Google News Archive
Google News Archive is a database of the hundreds of archived newspapers and magazines that Google News has digitized. It includes the names of the publications represented (including many French- and German-language titles) and the dates represented within the archive. Users can browse the titles one by one, picking individual issues to explore, or they can use the search field to sift through the entire database for content.
While this is a super-cool way to pore over historical documents, it’s critical to point out what this site won’t do: search for publications geographically. If you or your learners are looking to search for newspapers from your state or region, your best bet is to use other resources (such as state or city history websites) to discover the names of old or current publications. From there you could potentially peruse Google News Archive by publication name to see if it’s there. This limitation aside, the archive is a great way to access primary-source documents from the past. Use it to search for stories on various historical figures, issues, and events. See how contemporary accounts of major world events — such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor — were portrayed by contemporary reporters. Foreign-language classes might seek out newspapers in the target language and explore their content. For example, there are some great French-language newspapers from France, but there are also tons from Quebec and from pockets of the French-speaking United States. Talk with your learners about the origin of these publications and their importance for the populations who published and read them. Also, your learners may delight in some of the papers’ old-timey titles; who wouldn’t love the Valley Vindicator?