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Back to the Future: Uses of History in Newspapers and Judicial Records on Marriage Equality
Unformatted Document Text:  though the newspapers might rely more on personal histories that develop individual stories, while the court may use broader contextual histories. 3. Uses of history in the Bay Area Reporter would be different (perhaps more comprehensive or rich) from uses of history in the two larger papers, given the special interest nature of the newspaper and the niche demographic of the readership. This paper assesses editorial and news articles published in the first, or “A,” section of the print version of each newspaper during the specified date range; letters to the editor were not included. 73 Only content that used history (personal, issue, institutional, etc.) was assessed. For example, an article about a congressional candidate that refers to the candidate’s stand on marriage equality, among other controversial issues, was not included in the sample of media texts. 74 An article that used history to profile a same-sex couple and to highlight their identities as same-sex partners, however, was included. 75 Articles were selected by using a keyword search in the newspapers’ online archives. Articles from the New York Times came from the LexisNexis database. Because of licensing issues, however, Los Angeles Times content was collected from LexisNexis (Jan. 1 to June 30) and the official Los Angeles Times archive (July 1 to Dec. 31), accessed through the UNC Libraries digital microfilm database. Number of articles selected for assessment after two readings (out of 95 selected from online archives). Full text of content from the Bay Area Reporter was available only through its online archive, a tailored Google search. The Reporter archive did not give the page number on which the articles were originally published. Therefore, all content printed by the Reporter and returned by the keyword terms were considered for selection. Chomsky and Barclay used only the search term “gay marriage” in their 9 During Perry (Jan. 1-Aug. 4) After Perry (Aug.5-Dec. 31) Total New York Times 21 12 33 Los Angeles Times 18 10 28 Bay Area Reporter 8 5 13 Total 47 27 74

Authors: Li, Anqi.
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though the newspapers might rely more on personal histories that develop individual stories, 
while the court may use broader contextual histories.
3. Uses of history in the Bay Area Reporter would be different (perhaps more comprehensive or 
rich) from uses of history in the two larger papers, given the special interest nature of the 
newspaper and the niche demographic of the readership.
This paper assesses editorial and news articles published in the first, or “A,” section of the print 
version of each newspaper during the specified date range; letters to the editor were not included.
 Only 
content that used history (personal, issue, institutional, etc.) was assessed. For example, an article about a 
congressional candidate that refers to the candidate’s stand on marriage equality, among other 
controversial issues, was not included in the sample of media texts.
 An article that used history to profile 
a same-sex couple and to highlight their identities as same-sex partners, however, was included.
Articles were selected by using a keyword search in the newspapers’ online archives. Articles 
from the New York Times came from the LexisNexis database. Because of licensing issues, however, Los 
Angeles Times content was collected from LexisNexis (Jan. 1 to June 30) and the official Los Angeles 
Times archive (July 1 to Dec. 31), accessed through the UNC Libraries digital microfilm database. 
Number of articles selected for assessment after two readings (out of 95 selected from online archives).
Full text of content from the Bay Area Reporter was available only through its online archive, a 
tailored Google search. The Reporter archive did not give the page number on which the articles were 
originally published. Therefore, all content printed by the Reporter and returned by the keyword terms 
were considered for selection. Chomsky and Barclay used only the search term “gay marriage” in their 
9
During Perry
(Jan. 1-Aug. 4)
After Perry
(Aug.5-Dec. 31)
Total
New York Times
21
12
33
Los Angeles Times
18
10
28
Bay Area Reporter
8
5
13
Total
47
27
74


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