Skip to main content

Citing Media: APA (6th edition)

Direct comments to mkclark@nvcc.edu

Color Code Key

Citation Color Codes: 

Who
When
What
Where

You can view citations for different formats of resources by clicking on the tabs below.

Citing Media According to the APA Handbook (6th edition)

APA In-Text Citation in General

Here are four examples of in-text citations taken from the NOVA APA Citation Style Guide:

  1. Name the author(s) and provide a direct quotation:
    • Pollan (2001) explains that "the apple, like the settlers themselves, had to forsake its former domestic life and return to the wild before it could be reborn as an American" (p. 13).
  2. Provide a direct quotation without naming the author(s) directly:
    • "In effect, the apple like the settlers themselves, had to forsake its former domestic life and return to the wild before it could be reborn as an American" (Pollan, 2001, p. 13).
  3. Name the author(s) and paraphrase:
    • Michael Pollan (2001) compares the apple to the settler, because both required an experience in the wild in order to fully express the American experience (p.13).
  4. Paraphrase without naming the author(s) directly:
    • One writer compares the apple to the settler, because both required an experience in the wild in order to fully express the American experience (Pollan, 2001, p.13).

Each of these in-text citation examples are valid ways to cite the resource that you would have in your Reference list in the format below:

                        Pollan, M. (2001). The Botany of Desire. New York: Random House.


APA In-Text Citation for Electronic Sources

This information and more can be found at the Purdue OWL APA Formatting and Style Guide.

Whenever possible, use the author-date style shown in the examples above for your in-text citations. However, there are common differences you may run into when using online media sources, which are addressed here:

  • If the source does not provide author information, use the title (or the first word or two of the title) instead of the author name.
  • If the source does not provide the date, use the abbreviation "n.d." (for "no date"), as you would in your Reference List.
  • If the source does not include page numbers, try to include information that will help the reader find the passage you are discussing. If the document includes headings, provide the heading and specify the paragraph under that heading.
    • Example: According to Smith (1997), ... (Mind Over Matter section, para. 6)
    • Never use the page numbers of webpages you print out; different computers print webpages with different pagination.
  • Social media and personal communication (such as emails, interviews, letters, and other person-to-person communication is ONLY cited in-text, NOT in your Reference List. See the Online Communication tab for citation formats.

Sources that you cite in-text must still be listed in your Reference List (unless they are social media or personal communication such as emails, interviews, letters, etc.)

Media citations in APA (6th ed.) generally provide this information in this order: 

Who created the resource. (Who they are). (When the resource was created). What the resource is and [What version/format we are looking at]. Where the resource was created or Where the resource can be found.

Include as much of this information as you can. This may require a little digging around the website if you're using online media. 

 

Images & Art

Last Name, First Initial. (Role of creator). (Year of creation). Title (or description if there is no title) [Medium/Type of work]. Retrieved from URL/database.

Kandinsky, V. (Painter). (1909). Picture with an Archer [Painting]. Retrieved from https://www.moma.org/collection/works/80104

 

Films and Movies

Producer, P. (Producer) & Director, D. (Director). (Publication Year). Title of Film or Movie [Motion picture]. Country of Origin: Studio or distributor.

Abrams, J. J.Karnowski, T., & McGaitlin, J. (Producers), & Johnson, R. (Director). (2017). Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi [Motion picture]. United StatesLucasfilm.

Portion of the back cover of the Star Wars The Last Jedi DVD case

This image is from the back of the film's DVD case.

Information used in the citation is circled in yellow.


Television Broadcast

Writer, A. (Writer) & Director, B. (Director). (Broadcast date). Title of broadcast [Television broadcast]. City,State of production: Studio or distributor.

Maher, B. & Gurvitz, M. (Producers). (2013, September 20). Real time with Bill Maher [Television broadcast]. Los Angeles, CA: Home Box Office (HBO).


Episode in a Television Series

For an episode from a television or radio series, use the same format as for a chapter in a book, but list the script writer and director in the author position and the producer in the editor position.

Writer, A. (Writer), & Director, B. (Director). (Broadcast date). Title of broadcast [Television broadcast or Television series]. In C. Producer (Producer), Name of television
          show.
 City,State of production: Studio or distributor.

Strong, D. (Writer), & Daniels, L. (Director). (2015). The outspoken king [Television series episode]. In Lee Daniels, Empire. Chicago, IL20th Television.


 

Entire TV Series

Producers, P. (Producer). (Year). Title of tv show. [Television series]. City, state: distributor. 

Daniels, L. & Strong, D. (2015). Empire. [Television series]. Chicago, IL20th Television. 


 

Online Video (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)

Producer, P. (Producer). (Year). Title of video [Description of form]. Retrieved from URL

AsapScience. (Producer). (2013, September 22). What if you stopped sleeping? [YouTube video]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/nNhDkKAvxFk

Information used in the citation is highlighted on the image in yellow.

Music Recording (CD, Vinyl, etc.)

Individual song:

Songwriter, W. W. (Date of copyright). Title of song [Recorded by artist (if different from song writer)]. On Title of album [Medium of recording]. Location of Label: Label.
          (Recording date if different from copyright date).

Taupin, B. (1975). Someone saved my life tonight [Recorded by Elton John]. On Captain fantastic and the brown dirt cowboy [CD]. London, England: Big Pig Music Limited.

 

Entire album:

Artist. (Year). Album title [format]. City, Country: Record label.

Queen. (1975). A Night at the Opera [CD]. Santa Monica, United StatesA&M Records.

Front cover of Queen album A Night at the Opera

 

Back cover of Queen album A Night at the Opera

Information used in the citation is circled on the image in yellow.

The Record Label Company's location was not provided on the case. I located that information separately online for the citation.


 

Streaming Music

Songwriter, L. (Year). Song title [Recorded by T. Singer]. On Title of album [Audio file]. Retrieved from url

Rammstein. (2001). Sonne. On Mutter [Audio file]. Retrieved from open.spotify.com/album/7ikuEzL6xeAgu6yT6YVLy7

In this example, the Songwriter and [Recorded by Singer] are both Rammstein, so APA Style instructs us to leave out [Recorded by Singer].

Screen capture of the album Mutter by Rammstein as displayed in Spotify music player

Information used in the citation is highlighted on the image in yellow.

Social Media

In the same way that personal communication is not considered scholarly, posts from social media cites are generally not included in the reference list. Cite them in-text only by giving the URL in parentheses.

The in-text example found below is given in the APA Style Blog (http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2009/10/how-to-cite-twitter-and-facebook-part-i.html)

President Obama uses Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/barackobama) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/barackobama) to keep citizens up to speed on his initiatives, especially health care reform and Supreme Court nominations. 


HOWEVER, if you choose to cite information from a particular post, you will need the in-text citation as well as a reference list entry. Additional examples can be found at APA Style Blog (http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2009/10/how-to-cite-twitter-and-facebook-part-ii.html). Visit the link for more information on how to cite social media references when you have multiple resources from one author (especially if you cite multiple posts from the same person on the same day).

Example from APA Style Blog:

Barack Obama. (2009a, July 15). Launched American Graduation Initiative to help additional 5 mill. Americans graduate college by 2020: http://bit.ly/gcTX7 [Twitter post]. Retrieved from http://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/2651151366

 

Online Forum or Discussion Board Posts

Author's Last Name, First Initial or Screenname. (Date of message/post). Title of message/post [message/post number (if available)]. "Message posted to" or "Message
          archived at" URL 

TwoM8s. (2019, February 27). Thinking of getting a PhD in history, is it worth it? [Reddit post]. Message posted to 
          https://www.reddit.com/r/AskAcademia/comments/avn1t3/thinking_of_getting_a_phd_in_history_is_it_worth/

Image of the title and author information of a post on Reddit.com

Information used in the citation is highlighted on the image in yellow.


 

Blog Posts

Author’s Last Name, First Initial or Screenname. (Date of message/post). Title of message/post [Blog post]. Retrieved from URL

Freakonomics. (2010, October 29). E-ZPass is a life-saver (literally) [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://freakonomics.com/2010/10/29/e-zpass-is-a-life-saver-literally/

Information used in the citation is highlighted on the image in yellow.

You will often find this information at the beginning or the end of the post.

This information was located at the beginning of the post, grouped together with the title.


 

Wikis

Title of Wiki Page(Date of message/post). Retrieved (date you accessed) from the Title of Entire WikiWiki URL

OLPC Mongolia. (2013, July 25). Retrieved February 27, 2019 from the OLPC Wiki: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Mongolia


 

Email (personal communication)

Do not include personal communication in your reference list. Instead, parenthetically cite the communicator's name, the phrase "personal communication," and the date of the communication in your main text only.

Examples from Purdue OWL APA Style website:

(E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).

A. P. Smith claimed that many of her students had difficulties with APA style (personal communication, November 3, 2002).

 

Digital Files (PDFs, MP3s, JPEGs, etc.)

Author’s Last Name, First Initial or Name of Organization. (Year). Title of the document [Type of file]. Retrieved from URL or DOI

Jones, Kristen. (2018). How to Login to NOVA Computers [PDF file]. Retrieved from www.nvcc.edu/annandale/fsrc/_docs/LoggingInToNOVAComputers.pdf

References

Abrams, J. J., Karnowski, T., & McGaitlin, J. (Producers), & Johnson, R. (Director). (2017). Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi [Motion picture]. United States: Lucasfilm.

APA Style Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/

AsapScience. (Producer). (2013, September 22). What if you stopped sleeping? [YouTube video]. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/nNhDkKAvxFk

Barack Obama. (2009a, July 15). Launched American Graduation Initiative to help additional 5 mill. Americans graduate college by 2020: http://bit.ly/gcTX7 [Twitter post]. Retrieved
          from http://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/2651151366

Freakonomics. (2010, October 29). E-ZPass is a life-saver (literally) [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://freakonomics.com/2010/10/29/e-zpass-is-a-life-saver-literally/

Jones, Kristen. (2018). How to Login to NOVA Computers [PDF file]. Retrieved from www.nvcc.edu/annandale/fsrc/_docs/LoggingInToNOVAComputers.pdf

Kandinsky, V. (Painter). (1909). Picture with an Archer [Painting]. Retrieved from https://www.moma.org/collection/works/80104

Maher, B. & Gurvitz, M. (Producers). (2013, September 20). Real time with Bill Maher [Television broadcast]. Los Angeles, CA: Home Box Office (HBO).

OLPC Mongolia. (2013, July 25). Retrieved February 27, 2019 from the OLPC Wiki: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_Mongolia

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2018). APA Formatting and Style Guide. Retrieved from
          https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html

Queen. (1975). A Night at the Opera [CD]. Santa Monica, United States: A&M Records.

Rammstein. (2001). Sonne. On Mutter [Audio file]. Retrieved from open.spotify.com/album/7ikuEzL6xeAgu6yT6YVLy7

Strong, D. (Writer), & Daniels, L. (Director). (2015). The outspoken king [Television series episode]. In Lee Daniels, Empire. Chicago, IL: 20th Television.

Taupin, B. (1975). Someone saved my life tonight [Recorded by Elton John]. On Captain fantastic and the brown dirt cowboy [CD]. London, England: Big Pig Music Limited.

TwoM8s. (2019, February 27). Thinking of getting a PhD in history, is it worth it? [Reddit post]. Message posted to 
          https://www.reddit.com/r/AskAcademia/comments/avn1t3/thinking_of_getting_a_phd_in_history_is_it_worth/

Loading ...

Additional Resources

APA Style Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/

Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2018). APA Formatting and Style Guide. Retrieved from
          https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/general_format.html

Selander, E. (2018). APA Citation Style Guide.  Retrieved from http://libguides.nvcc.edu/APACitationStyle

 

Why doesn't the citation for the APA Style Blog match the template for citing Blog Posts?

In this case I am citing the entire blog, so I have used the template for citing a webpage (see the NOVA APA Citation Style Guide: Citing Online Sources). Because there is no author listed for the site itself, the webpage title is listed first in the citation. Use the format for citing a blog post when you are referencing a specific post, not the entire webpage.