OSCOLA style for media

OSCOLA basics: media sources

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In the last blog post we looked at how to cite newspaper articles in OSCOLA citation style. However, newspapers are certainly not the only source of current affairs information and comment, and there may be times when you need to cite a source from a different type of media, such as a broadcast, a blog or a website. So, this week we’ll have a quick look at other media sources; it’s not as complicated as you might think. The OSCOLA guidelines do not cover every eventuality, so in some cases you just need to use common sense in formulating the citation. Where guidance is absent I have suggested an appropriate layout using the basic guideline principles. Don’t forget that in each case you need to remove as much unnecessary punctuation as possible.

Basic principles

The basic principles are: author name – ‘title’ – (publication information).

You can adapt this for virtually any type of modern media you need to cite: news broadcasts, YouTube videos and podcasts, radio interviews, and even social media posts. Here are a few examples from today’s internet feed.


Sir Ian McKellen and others, ‘The Hobbit Trilogy – extended version’ (Warner Home Video 2016).

If you were citing a streamed film source that is not available in hard copy, then you also need to cite the URL information and accessed date.

BBC Radio programme:

William Hanson, ‘U or non-U: does anyone still care?’ (BBC Radio 4, 25 August 2017) < http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05d91w9 > accessed 27 August 2017

If there is no obvious speaker, or perhaps you are citing a magazine programme such as ‘Today’, then just cite the title.

You Tube Clip:

Adrienne Mischler, ‘Yoga with Adrienne: yoga flow’ (27 August 2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-AJwAjoWR0 accessed 27 August 2017

I do love my yoga!

Facebook post:

There’s no specific advice on citing social media posts in the OSCOLA guidelines, and it’s difficult to envisage a scenario where you would want to, but maybe you need to quote a tweet or a post from a serious source that does not appear elsewhere. Note that the layout below is my interpretation of the basic rules, social media posts rarely have formal titles, so I’d suggest just quoting the first line or first few relevant words that enables identification, and I’ve added a ‘time-tag’ to the date as there are lots of posts for each day.

University of Bristol, ‘A-level results day’ (17 August 2017, 12:15) < https://www.facebook.com/bristoluniversity/> accessed 27 August 2017

Websites and blogs

OSCOLA does provide some advice for citing websites and blogs and this is slightly different to the general guidelines above. Simply, that where the blog or site has a specific name, then it is italicised within the publication information brackets. Here are a couple of examples:

Liz Brown, ‘OSCOLA back to basics: case law’ (Notes from the attic, 25 July 2017) https://lizbrownediting.com/oscola-back-basics-case-law/> accessed 27 August 2017

Liz Brown, ‘A pinch of salt’ (My Little Orange Notebook, 9 July 2017) https://little-orange-notebook.blogspot.com/2017/07/a-pinch-of-salt.html accessed 27 August 2017

You’ll note that I have included the online access details for each of these citations. These days many media sources are only available online, so in addition to the article author, organisation and title information you also need to cite the website url in angle brackets < and > and the accessed date. You don’t, however, need to do this if a print version of the source material is published, too.

OSCOLA style for media
Citing media in OSCOLA