Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.
Your absolute best choice for major news stories is probably a site
known as the Television News Archive at Vanderbilt University:
Not only is it comprehensive...it's free!
Click on "Enter TV-NewsSearch" and fill in the simple registration.
Once you're in their search system, click on the "Browse by Date" tab
to take you to a page where you can pull up the nightly news headline
stories by date, and by news program (ABC, NBC, etc).
The database begins in 1968, so you have quite a long stretch of records.
For instance, for my 30th birthday on May 26, 1982, here are the major
news events of the day, according to Peter Jennings and the rest of
the ABC news team:
--Falkland Conflict (7 separate news items)
--Customs agents at New York City's Kennedy Airport reported grounding
an Ecuadoran cargo plane allegedly carrying Israeli-made arms to
--Congress reported vetoing FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regulation
forcing used car dealers to post known defects
--Senate Foreign Relations Committee reported voting to freeze
military aid to El Salvador
--"New England Journal of Med." reported claiming gypsy moths pose
health problem for humans as well as fauna
--Yuri Andropov reported resigning as chief of USSR KGB
--John West Hinckley, Junior, reported not attending his trial for
attempted assassination of President Reagan
--Susceptibility of criminal use of federal computers
All in all, this is a great resource
Another terrific resource is newspaperarchive.com:
but this takes a bit more money and a bit more patience to make use of.
You can try it -- up to a point -- without registering, but you may
find it worthwhile to just register and get it over with. They offer
monthly and annual subscriptions.
Near the top of the page is a feature called "Birthday Newspaper".
Where it says: "Click here to get the front page headlines from the
day you were born" you should...click there!
This will take you to a page where you can enter the date of your
choosing (even if it's not your birthday!) and you'll get a thumbnail
of the front page of a (usually smaller city) newspaper for that day.
Sometimes, the system doesn't pull up a paper right away, but instead
gives you a series of papers to pick from, so take your choice
Even with the thumbnail you might be able to make out some of the
headlines, but to really appreciate it, you need to see the full page
in all its glory -- which means subscribing to the service.
I use newspaperarchive.com about five times a week...it's a great tool.
Two sites will give you a quickie look at the major headlines for a given year.
At this infoplease site:
you can click on the year of your choice and get a quick look at the
major headline events of the year, both in the US and around the
Another overview of the year's events -- from a decidedly UK
perspective -- can be seen at the BBC site:
Just pick a year to see the top stories.
That's it...hope these resources fully meet your needs. But before
rating this answer, please let me know if there's anything else I can
help you with. Just post a Request for Clarification, and I'm at your
All the best for the holidays and for the new year ahead...
search strategy: Made use of bookmarked links to archive news sites.