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Instruction: The Information Timeline and Types of Resources

The Information Timeline

When an event happens, information is disseminated using different outlets and generally follows a timeline as depicted below.

Event Occurs

  • The story breaks and is posted to social media.
  • Information may be incomplete, false, or biased.
  • Content is written by the general public.
  • Example social media outlets: Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), Mastodon, Instagram, YouTube, & TikTok
  • News outlets (news sites/blogs, television, radio, daily newspapers) cover the story.
  • Information may be incomplete, false, or biased.
  • Opinions emerge.
  • As time passes, information gets added/updated/corrected and verified.
  • Content is written/reported by journalists.
  • Example news outlets: television (CNN, Fox News); radio (BBC, NPR, CBC); newspapers (New York Times, Wall Street Journal)
  • Weekly magazines offer more insight into the story.
  • More context, interviews, related topics are included in the story.
  • Content is written by journalists or professional writers.
  • Example weekly magazines: Time; Newsweek; People; The New Yorker
  • Monthly magazines cover the event and may include more robust reporting.
  • Information may still be incomplete and include opinions.
  • Content is written by journalists or professional writers.
  • Example monthly magazines: Wired; Scientific American; National Geographic
  • Professors and experts in the field publish scientific information/findings about the event in scholarly journals.
  • Articles are well researched and peer-reviewed.
  • Example scholarly journals: JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association); Nature; Journal of Business Ethics
  • Depending on the discipline, scholarly journal articles may take up to two years to be published!
  • Books and government reports are published.
  • Information in these outlets provide in-depth coverage of the event.
  • Content is written by the professional writers, experts in the field, scholars, and others.
  • Examples of types of books published: nonfiction titles; biographies; textbooks; reference books
  • Government reports may be on the local, state, federal, international level

Information Timeline Graphic

Information Timeline graphic

Source: Information Timeline Graphic by adstarkel. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Information Life Cycle

Elmer E. Rasmuson Library
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PO Box 756800
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-6800
Phone: 907-474-7481​​
Text: 907-341-4404​

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