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Pre-Research Information: Articles (AL): Information Cycle

Guide created by Anne Anderson. Direct comments to

Information Cycle

The Information Cycle: Video

Information Cycle: What Is It?

The information cycle is the progression of media coverage of a newsworthy event. Knowing how information is created and how it evolves over time will help you better understand what types of sources will have the information you need. It will also help you when evaluating your sources for content and accuracy.

Today: If an event happened today, you would find information on TV, on the Internet, or on the radio.

Yesterday: If an event happened yesterday, you may still find information on TV, the Internet, or on the radio, but you will now find articles written in newspapers.

Week(s): If an event happened a week ago, you may still find information on TV, the Internet, radio, or in newspapers, but it will now be covered in magazines.

Month(s): If an event happened a month or more ago, you may now find articles published in academic or scholarly journals.

One Year: After about a year, you may begin to find books and/or government documents that have been published about the event.

Years: Years later, if the event has had a significant impact on society, you will begin to find information about it in reference books.