View Full Version : Research departments in newspapers?

10-06-2010, 06:26 PM
Hi there! Just wondering if anyone out there can assist me with this (possibly dumb) question re: newspapers.

Within the offices of a large, national newspaper, is there likely to be a separate research department?

I'm working on the second draft of my book. My agent has suggested that rather my character be a journo, she should work in research (this suits the character a lot better and works well.) However, I'm unsure as to whether or not a research dept. is realistic?

The publication in my book is not really a tabloid; it covers a bit of everything. A bit like the Metro (UK) in news, but on same scale as the Observer.

At the very beginning, the character works in a small-town local publication which I know does not have one of these - smaller papers generally don't. But what about a larger, national publication? And what kind of things would they be looking into?

If anyone can help, I'd love you for life! ;) (Well, to a certain extent, hehe)

10-06-2010, 07:11 PM
My mom works for a large local paper and used to work in what they called the library or reference area. They did the research for some of the stories along with maintaining records for the paper (microfilm and such.) Most of that department has been laid off because of the economy but I think there are one or two people left. I think most reporters there are required to do some of their own research now but things have changed a lot in the last 5 years or so. I don't think it's unreasonable that your paper has a reaearch department, although it will depend on the actual paper. If it's a fictional paper you can do whatever you want. If you are basing it on a real paper you should call and ask if they have a research department. My mom use to get call from the public a lot asking for help on research projects so it shouldn't seem too strange for them. Hope that's of some help. :)

10-06-2010, 07:34 PM
At the papers where I have worked or been associated, there hasn't been a "research" department per se but there are archives, with back issues of the paper and a small staff to help vet requests for that. Most of the actual story research, in my experience, is done by staff writers and reporters. An exception might be when you want to connect a current story with one in th past and might ask one of the archives people to find what you need.

Magazines, however, at least the large ones, do have research departments.

Hope it helps!