In the past (over forty years ago) you needed to be a post graduate student to access old newspapers in the newspaper and library archives. They would need to go through the newspapers one by one until they found the articles they needed.
Twenty years ago, undergraduates could access newspapers on microfilm in their university libraries. They still needed to go through paper by paper, however microfilm allowed access to a wider range of newspapers and was in many ways faster than leafing through an actual newspaper.
Ten years ago, learners in colleges and schools could access newspaper articles on a CD-ROM using a computer in their classroom or library. The text was searchable and could be easily copied into a different medium.
Today, archives of newspapers from the last two hundred years can be accessed via a web browser on a mobile device or from a computer in the home, workplace or at college.
In the past the process of researching past newspapers was time intensive, expensive (travelling to archives) and exclusive; there was no way newspaper archives and university libraries would allow college students or school pupils access to their collections.
In the past learners would be dependent on text book interpretations of newspaper articles or even the author’s interpretations of events based on other sources. Today primary school children can access a range of newspaper archives covering the last two hundred years and that alone can and should have an impact on the delivery of learning.