Recently, I have to quote newspaper articles more frequently and I had troubles finding a simple and short manual on how to implement such citations sensibly. Most guides online just simply state that newspaper articles should be treated like any other periodicals in biblatex and therefore, you should use the @article entry type. But there are some more tricks to that, if you want to achieve a great citation using the biblatex-chicago package.

In my academic field the author-date system is prevalent, therefore, this post won’t cover the footnotes system.

Requirements

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS) recommends the following for the bibliographic entry (see sections 14.203-213):

  • Name of the author
  • If the article is unsigned (no author specified) the name of the newspaper stands in place of the author
  • the headline inside quotation marks
  • the name of the newspaper italicized
  • Full date, often abbreviated
  • URL to the article, or can also be abbreviated
  • date of URL visit (can be left out)
  • page numbers are often not needed anymore and can be left out

And for in text citation, it follows the usual author-date scheme if an author is given: (Author year). Unsigned articles would follow accordingly by just stating the newspaper name (Newspaper year).

Using a typical bib entry

Easier said than done. Let’s say we want to quote the following two newspaper articles using biblatex-chicago:

The first one specifies two authors, the second one has no author named in the article. If we do the normal thing and enter the data into a .bib file, it would look like this:

And in our latex .tex file we include in the top the normal lines:

This will render the following bibliography:

Example 1: Bibliography rendering using the default fields.
Example 1: Bibliography rendering using the default fields.

This is almost what the CMoS requires, but note how the date is in brackets instead of just being separated by a full stop. But it gets worse, if we have a look at the in-text citation:

Example 1: In-text citation using author-year system and the default fields.
Example 1: In-text citation using author-year system and the default fields.

The unsigned article does not render as required by the CMoS which would be at least something like this: (The China Post 2019).

Small fix

This can be easily fixed by using the entrysubtype feature by the biblatex-chicago package. The entrysubtype is a field that is left undefined by the standard biblatex styles, but used by the biblatex-chicago package. Therefore, the .bib entry has to be changed accordingly by adding:

This makes the result already much better:

Example 2: Bibliography rendering using the entrysubtype field.
Example 2: Bibliography rendering using the entrysubtype field.

The in-text citation also changes:

Example 2: In-text citation rendering using the entrysubtype field.
Example 2: In-text citation rendering using the entrysubtype field.

More Tweaks

With that simple addition to the bib-entry, the citation now complies with the requirements from the CMoS. But let’s assume that we want to include the full date in the in-text citation, because we are citing several newspapers and also on different days. The CMoS also states that in general citations should take the reader and context into account.

Therefore, we can make use of the options field in the .bib file. This enables some special options for each entry, instead of setting them globally. And also some specific options can only be set in the bib-entry.

If we add the following, the full date will be rendered in the in-text citation:

Which gives this output:

Example 3: In-text citation rendering with full date.
Example 3: In-text citation rendering with full date.

If we want to abbreviate the date, we can add dateabbrev=true to the global options in the .tex file:

Another tweak that I needed was to focus on the newspaper instead of the author. Therefore, I wanted to have always the newspaper name in the in-text citation and also sort the reference list accordingly. Luckily, there is also an option for that, so you just have to add useauthor=false to the bib-entry:

The final tweak is about the language setting. I am typically using the babel package with the british option. This renders single quotation marks, but keeps the punctuation outside them.

Example 4: Bibliography rendering using british quotation style with csquotes and babel package
Example 4: Bibliography rendering using british quotation style with csquotes and babel package

The CMoS however recommends that the punctuation marks are kept inside the quotation marks. This is a clash of two different typographic standards, however it can be reconciled by using this command in the .tex file: \DefineBibliographyExtras{british}{\uspunctuation}.

Which makes my latex header look something like this:

Now the bibliography is rendered with this mixed style:

Example 5: Bibliography rendering using mixed quotation style
Example 5: Bibliography rendering using mixed quotation style

Complications and unresolved issues

The CMoS gets a bit weird for articles by news agencies such as Associated Press (AP) as these are not supposed to be italicized. However, there is no straight solution to this. The organization entry field doesn’t help here. One option would be to enter the news agency in the author field and add some curly braces {} around it.

References

“Author-Date: Sample Citations.” The Chicago Manual of Style. .

Fussner, David. 2018. The Biblatex-Chicago Package: Style Files for Biblatex. CTAN .

Lehman, Philipp, Philip Kime, Moritz Wemheuer, Audrey Boruvka, and Joseph Wright. 2018. The Biblatex Package: Programmable Bibliographies and Citations. CTAN .

moewe. 2017. “Biblatex-Chicago and Non-Us Quotation Style?” tex.stackexchange . November 9, 2017.

The Chicago Manual of Style. 2010. 16th ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

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