Local News in a Digital World: Small-Market Newspapers in the Digital Age

Damian Radcliffe, Christopher Ali, 2017, Local News in a Digital World: Small-Market Newspapers in the Digital Age, Columbia University Academic Commons, doi/10.7916/D8WS95VQ.

114 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

Date Written: November 15, 2017

Abstract

Too often we tend to hear one single narrative about the state of newspapers in the United States. The newspaper industry is not one sector. While there are considerable variances between the myriad of outlets — whether national titles, major metros, dailies in large towns, alt weeklies, publications in rural communities, ethnic press, and so on — a major challenge for anyone trying to make sense of industry data is its aggregated nature. It’s nearly impossible to deduce trends or characteristics at a more granular level. The story of local newspapers with circulations below 50,000, or what we call “small-market newspapers,” tends to get overlooked due to the narrative dominance of larger players. However, small-market publications represent a major cohort that we as a community of researchers know very little about, and a community of practitioners that too often — we were told — knows little about itself. Our study seeks to help redress this recent imbalance. We embarked on our research with a relatively simple yet ambitious research question: How are small-market newspapers responding to digital disruption? From the data collected in our research, we also strove to report on the future of small-market newspapers by asking: How can small-market newspapers best prepare for the future? Our research findings are based on interviews with fifty-three experts from across the publishing industry, academia, and foundations with a strong interest in the local news landscape. So as to make a fair assessment of the topic’s placement against a wider news background, we did not limit ourselves just to those with immediate connection to small-market newspapers. From these conversations and our own analysis, seven key themes emerged.

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

Suggested Citation

Radcliffe, Damian and Ali, Christopher, Local News in a Digital World: Small-Market Newspapers in the Digital Age (November 15, 2017). Damian Radcliffe, Christopher Ali, 2017, Local News in a Digital World: Small-Market Newspapers in the Digital Age, Columbia University Academic Commons, doi/10.7916/D8WS95VQ., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3094783

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

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