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Long Descriptions of images in Guides: Information Cycle

The Information Cycle


The Information Cycle

How Information Spreads From An Event
(based on "The Information Cycle" page at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

The Day of an Event

Television, Social Media, and the Web

Event Occurs

Minutes After
Eyewitnesses, First Responders

  • Phone calls
  • Camera images
  • Text messages

First Hours
Officials, newscaster, general public

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • News websites
  • TV & Radio

First Day
Lead officials, news commentators, bloggers

  • Press releases
  • TV and radio programs
  • Blogs

The who, what, why, and where of the event
Quick, not detailed, regularly updated
Authors are journalists, bloggers, social media participants
Intended for general audiences

The Day After an Event


First Week
Reporters, columnists, bloggers

  • Newspapers
  • News websites

Explanations and timelines of the event begin to appear
More factual information, may include statistics, quotes, photographs, and editorial coverage
Authors are journalists
Intended for general audiences

The Week or Weeks After an Event

Weekly Popular Magazines and News Magazines

Weeks After
Magazine Journalists, Columnists

  • Popular and news magazines

Long form stories begin to discuss the impact on society, culture, and public policy
More detailed analyses, interviews, and various perspectives emerge
Authors range from journalists to essayists, and commentary provided by scholars and experts in the field
Intended for a general audience or specific nonprofessional groups

Six Months to a Year or More After an Event

Academic, Scholarly Journals

Months After
Academic researchers, "think tanks"

  • Scholarly journals
  • Research reports

First year
Official agencies, book authors

  • Books
  • Government publications

Focused, detailed analysis and theoretical, empirical research
Peer-reviewed, ensuring high credibility and accuracy
Authors include scholars, researchers, and professionals
Intended for an audience of scholars, researchers, and university students

A Year to Years After an Event


Years after
Documentarians, archivists, researchers

  • Documentaries
  • Reference books

In-depth coverage ranging from scholarly in-depth analysis to popular books
Authors range from scholars to professionals to journalists
Include reference books which provide factual information, overviews, and summaries
Government Reports
Reports from federal, state, and local governments
Authors include governmental panels, organizations, and committees
Often focused on public policy, legislation, and statistical analysis