Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. Dear Chicago editors: What should I do if my source appeared in a newspaper (which I cannot reach today), but is featured on a website? How can I give credit to both the paper and the website? The article is something I found on the website of Columbia journalism professor Samuel Freedman.

A. You would attribute the article to both. For example, here’s how you might cite the article “Don’t Reward Deceitful Writers” (as in a note):

1. Samuel G. Freedman, “Don’t Reward Deceitful Writers,” USA Today, March 24, 2004, on the author’s website,

That should work for most purposes. But if your research depends on finding the original source—or if you’ve come across the article on some random site rather than, as in this case, a website hosted by the author—it’s best to track down the article itself. For example, if you have access to a library, you might find the article via one of the full-text databases from EBSCOhost:

1. Samuel G. Freedman, “Don’t Reward Deceitful Writers,” USA Today, March 24, 2004, EBSCOhost Newspaper Source.

Note that this citation differs from the automatically generated Chicago-style citation offered with the article by EBSCOhost, which renders it as follows:

Samuel G. Freedman. “Don’t Reward Deceitful Writers.” USA Today. Accessed December 3, 2021.

That citation isn’t a total loss, but it has some problems: (1) The author’s name would be inverted in a bibliography entry (Freedman, Samuel G.). (2) It’s missing the date of publication. (3) Chicago doesn’t require access dates for sources that include a date of publication. (4) The URL is not only littered with ugly syntax, but it’s unhelpful for anyone who isn’t logged into a network with access to EBSCOhost. (5) Finally, a formal bibliography entry isn’t necessarily required for a newspaper article cited in the text or in a note. See also CMOS 14.11 and 14.198.