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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Illinois Scholars Program (SOC 199)

Evaluate Your Sources

The Information Cycle

What is the Information Cycle? (Accessible View) 

The Information Cycle is the progression of media coverage of a particular newsworthy event. Understanding the information cycle will help you better know what information is available on your topic and better evaluate information sources covering that topic. 

After an event, information about that event becomes available in a pattern similar to this: 

THE DAY OF: Television, Social Media, and the Web (ex: CNN, Twitter, blogs)

THE WEEK OF: Newspapers (ex. New York Times, Chicago Tribune)

THE WEEK AFTER: Magazines (ex. Time, National Geographic)

MONTHS AFTER: Academic/Scholarly Journals (ex. The American Political Science Review, Journal of American Medical Association)

A YEAR AFTER & LATER: Books, Government Publications, and Reference Collections (Popular Titles, encyclopedias, government reports)