Life at Small-Market Newspapers: Results from a Survey of Small Market Newsrooms

Damian Radcliffe, Christopher Ali, Rosalind Donald, 2017, Life at Small-Market Newspapers: Results from a Survey of Small Market Newsrooms, Columbia University Academic Commons, doi/10.7916/D8XP7BGC.

87 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2018

See all articles by Damian Radcliffe

Damian Radcliffe

University of Oregon, School of Journalism and Communication; Cardiff University, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies; The Tow Center for Digital Journalism part of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University

Christopher Ali

University of Virginia, Department of Media Studies

Rosalind Donald

Independent

Date Written: May 10, 2017

Abstract

The observations in this paper are based on the results of an online survey conducted between Monday, November 14 and Sunday, December 4, 2016. Survey respondents identified a number of key challenges for the sector, including: Shrinking newsrooms: More than half (59 percent) of our survey participants told us that the number of staff in their newsroom had shrunk since 2014. Recruitment: Low pay, long hours, and limited opportunities for career progression can impede the attraction and retention of young journalists. A long-hours culture: Many respondents reported that they regularly work more than 50 hours a week. Job security: Just over half of respondents (51 percent) said they feel secure in their positions. A further 29 percent had a neutral view (neither positive nor negative) about their job security. Despite these considerations, we encountered a sense of optimism among much of our sample. This confidence is rooted in an understanding that small-market newspapers are often close to their communities — with journalists sharing similar goals and lives to their audience — and a recognition that much of their reporting is not replicated elsewhere. Nevertheless, respondents were also aware of emerging issues, such as establishing relevancy with the next generation of news consumers. Social media and emerging storytelling formats such as live video may help do this, and we found strong levels of interest in some of these spaces. Subsequently, we believe a more nuanced conversation about this sector in required. The newspaper industry, even within this smaller stratum of newspapers, is far from homogeneous. Our conversations with local journalists found a cohort eager to know more about the experiences of their peers. As a result, we welcome moves to increase coverage of the local media sector by leading trade publications. Richer coverage and research of this industry will help to inform and inspire local journalists, policymakers, and funders alike.

Keywords: local newspapers, local media, local news, digital journalism

JEL Classification: J21

Suggested Citation

Radcliffe, Damian and Ali, Christopher and Donald, Rosalind, Life at Small-Market Newspapers: Results from a Survey of Small Market Newsrooms (May 10, 2017). Damian Radcliffe, Christopher Ali, Rosalind Donald, 2017, Life at Small-Market Newspapers: Results from a Survey of Small Market Newsrooms, Columbia University Academic Commons, doi/10.7916/D8XP7BGC., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3094661

Damian Radcliffe (Contact Author)

University of Oregon, School of Journalism and Communication ( email )

1280 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
United States

HOME PAGE: http://journalism.uoregon.edu/member/radcliffe-damian/

Cardiff University, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3EU
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/201298-radcliffe-damian

The Tow Center for Digital Journalism part of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://towcenter.org/academics/damian-radcliffe/

Christopher Ali

University of Virginia, Department of Media Studies ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Rosalind Donald

Independent ( email )

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
20
Abstract Views
231
PlumX Metrics