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Session 5: Advanced Nexis and Factiva

By now you’re all experts at using Nexis and Factiva — right? But hey, even experts sometimes need a refresher.

Why we would use Nexis or Factiva instead of Google? Factors include precision, availability of archival news stories, and access to publications that are not freely available on the web.

Here’s a quick review of Nexis and Factiva commands.

Nexis Factiva
Headline or lead paragraph hlead(terms) hlp=terms
Byline byline(name) by=name
Boolean operators and, or, and not and, or, not
Proximity operators w/5, pre/5, w/p w/5, near5, same
Truncation character ! *
Frequency atleast4(term) atleast4 term
Length length > 1000 wc > 1000
Company company(name) co=name
Publication publication(name) sn=name

A recent real-life request from a New York Times reporter:

Have there been any other racial incidents involving the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity over the years and decades?

Here is a Nexis search strategy for finding previous incidents. Search by Content Type: News, then go to Advanced Options and select the news categories you’d like to use. Then try this:

hlead(sigma alpha epsilon) and atleast2(sigma alpha epsilon or sae) and raci! and (discipl! or ban! or barr! or expel! or expuls! or suspen! or shut!  or sanction!)

Using a transcript search to find video clips

If you wanted to string together a bunch of quotes from Sen. Ted Cruz about Benghazi, you might use this strategy.

In Nexis: go to Search by Content Type: Broadcast Transcripts, and try this:

hlead(ted cruz) and atleast5(cruz) and cruz w/p benghazi

In Factiva: select subject Transcripts and try this:

hlp=(ted cruz) and atleast5 cruz and cruz same benghazi

Some quick tricks for Nexis and Factiva news searching

To find profiles, use one of these formulas:

Nexis: hlead(firstname pre/2 lastname) and atleast5(lastname) and length > 750

Factiva: hlp=(firstname w/2 lastname) and atleast5 lastname and wc > 750

For fast facts on a topic, try this search in Factiva (don’t forget to evaluate the sources): hlp=(factbox and topic)

Finding company information

Nexis: Search by Content Type: Company Dossier

Factiva: Companies/Markets