About Journalist's Resource

Based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, the Journalist’s Resource project examines news topics through a research lens. We surface scholarly materials that may be relevant to media practitioners, bloggers, educators, students and general readers. In 2013 the American Library Association named us one of the best free reference Web sites.

Our weekly email and Twitter feed serve to highlight the latest studies from academia that can inform public discourse. Given the deluge of research output every day, we aim to be a useful curator. Our searchable database contains top academic and governmental research that we have selected and synthesized. We strive to translate complex statistics into clear data points and reformulate the terminology of academic specialists into more accessible language, without sacrificing rigor or nuance. While we can’t provide access to the full text of every study, we try to provide at least a point of entry and highlight key points — and we encourage media members to contact the authors of the research directly.

We invite all those interested in policy and public affairs to use the site’s materials, in particular instructors, students and journalists. No registration is required; the materials are free and are under a Creative Commons license.

To understand the site’s basic goals, we recommend that you read our primer: “Introduction to Studies and Academic Research: How It Works and Why Journalists Should Care.”

Establishing and promoting the concept of knowledge-based reporting animates the project; the philosophy is articulated in the new book Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism, by Tom Patterson, our research director. Many of the nation’s top journalism educators and thinkers have been promoting the idea of bringing journalism closer to the research world — both to meet the profession’s social mission and to ensure its high value in an increasingly crowded marketplace — and our site strives to provide a structure for accomplishing this. Our project has partnered with the New York Times, for example, to help create more research-related resources for readers; other active partners include the Nieman Journalism Lab and Scholars Strategy Network at Harvard. We also foster the improvement of Wikipedia pages relating to policy topics.

See this for a little more on our philosophy:

The site is run by faculty, staff and graduate students at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, as part of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education. In addition to providing access to scholarly reports and papers on a wide range of topics, it makes available syllabi for educators and skills-based reference material.

Our database is always a work in progress, and we welcome new suggestions (email John Wihbey or Leighton Walter Kille). To meet the standards of the project, research must generally be:

The three primary sections of the site are as follows:

When making attributions to material on our website, we encourage you to cite the academic/government/research institution from which the information originally comes and/or the scholarly journal named. All other material should be credited to Journalist’s Resource. If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please contact us.