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Communication Studies: Popular Press

General resource for Communication Studies

What are popular press articles?

Differences Between Popular and Academic Resources

Popular (Non-Scholarly) Academic (Scholarly)
Author Journalist, layperson, or sometimes unknown Expert (scholar, professor, etc.) in field being discussed
Citations Few or no references/citations available Includes citations and/or bibliography in certain styles such as MLA, APA, and Chicago (to view citation style guidelines, click on their respective names)


Reviewed by people at the publisher

Reviewed by editorial board of outside scholars (peer review)


Written for the average reader


Written for experts, uses subject-specific jargon, shows research

Audience General public, people in stores/online Scholars and researchers in the field
Advertising Many ads, often in color Few or none; if there are any, they are for other scholarly materials
Look Eye-catching/interesting design, many pictures, color Plain, utilitarian, black and white, tables and charts
Contents Current events, general interest Specialized research topics only
Sample Titles The New Yorker, The Washington Post, National Geographic Harvard Educational Review, Journal of Environmental Law
Sample Article

"The Needless Complexity of Academic Writing" - The Atlantic, "Iowa City to launch a year of temporary sculpture installations" - The Daily Iowan

"Highly Efficient Reprogramming to Pluripotency and Directed Differentiation of Human Cells with Synthetic Modified mRNA" - Cell Stem Cell

Finding Popular Press Articles

There are a few ways to find popular press articles:

  • Search InfoHawk+ and our popular press databases, listed at the right. Use quotation marks around specific phrases. 
  • Limit your search results to Magazines, if that option is available.
  • Consult the references in a scholarly article on your topic. Writers will often utilize both scholarly and popular articles. 
  • Look at Wikipedia. No, seriously. Scroll to the bottom of the entry on your topic and look at the references. Some are likely to be from popular press sources.
  • If you get stuck and can't find anything, it's okay to try a search engine like Google. Look at the URL's to verify that the results are from published media but you may be able to find articles this way. URL addresses that include names like or or, for example, would all be popular press sites.

The Perch

The Perch - This collection of magazines, newspapers, and journals is available across from the New Books section on the first floor of Main Library. You can also connect to the resources digitally via the guide

Popular Press Databases


Newspapers are another valuable source of popular press information. Search the recommended databases below or, on the A-Z Database Index, select Newspaper Collections under All Database Types to search other newspaper holdings, including historical and global.