JOUR 375 Final
Community journalism is defined in our textbook “Community Journalism: Relentlessly Local” as being something that is recognizable when one sees it. The book states “The heartbeat of American journalism. Journalism in its natural state.” Community journalism is something that gives life to a community and does affect the local area.
The importance of community journalism is something that can be found in many areas including a recent study conducted by the PEW Research Center. The study was conducted in March of 2015 and is titled “Local News in a Digital Age.”
This study recognizes the change in the outlet of media and the ways that journalism is evolving, but also the significance that local journalism holds. After surveying three different metro areas in the U.S. the result was clear. According to the study “Nearly nine-in-ten residents follow local news closely” no matter what demographic they are representing.
This research supports the belief that community and local journalism is still a viable form of journalism. Some have feared for years that because of the constant advancement of technologies, print journalism would disappear. “Community Journalism: Relentlessly Local” comments on the beginning of this time by saying “The first wave of the digital revolution has passed, and we’re still in the storytelling business.”
Times are changing as they always have been and will continue to do, but it does not mean the end of community journalism as we know it. A study conducted by Poynter in 2015 found that local journalism matters to audiences for a multiple of reasons.
According to this study, the fact that national reports rush through a story but local reports take time and revisit certain stories, gives local news agencies a more appealing look to many viewers. The fact that local stations cover events and people in the community draws others to keep up with their community’s news.
Community journalism does have to take into account the fact that there are some members of their area that are adapting to the technological wave. Some people are only getting their news from television or online. Those local agencies that only produce a paper every week may see their numbers declining because of the lack of versatility.
According to the “Local News in a Digital Age” study, television is the number one source for obtaining local news. This is something that needs to be recognized and understood by local journalists in other areas.
An article titled “The Social Media Revolution: Exploring the Impact on Journalism and News Media Organizations” shares that news organizations have been and are continually impacted by social media. This article states “Simply making information available is not enough for today’s public.” Audiences want to pick and choose what they read and be able to comment and share their opinions.
This comes from the greater use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter as places to obtain news. Local journalists can take note of these changes and work to create their content to share and be available on these places as well.
This article also provides insight as to how the growth of the digital outlet as a news source has impacted the way news organizations operate. Honesty and transparency are two main areas that community journalism should follow after the digital sources according to the article.
People are searching for the truth and someone they can trust to give them their information. Journalists should be focused at all times to provide readers with the truth and be authentic with them. The increase of the digital age has strengthened that desire for readers to be treated with respect and given the credibility they deserve.
Community journalism plays a big role in each and every community they are present in. I believe community journalism is what makes people feel like they are a part of their community. It is an area where people can read about family or friends or neighbors and see the impact they have on their community.
Without this form of journalism I feel people would become bored much more easily with the national news. I do believe some would still keep up with world and national happenings, but they would lose an interest quickly. People want to know about their personal lives and communities and how they are going to be affected by decisions.
Community journalism offers a bit of a lighter side of journalism in many ways. It creates a fun and relatable source to gain information. I think that even with the growth of digital media, people still want to read about their hometowns and see pictures of their childhood friends on the front page.
Dean of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma, Joe Foote, wrote an article titled “The Importance of Community Journalism” and discussed his opinion of the field.
Foote shares in this article the fact that there are many family-owned papers in the state of Oklahoma and how those families positively impact their communities. He says in the article, “These newspaper families share every joy and sorrow of civic life, are constantly promoting their communities and are zealots for civic engagement.”
He continues to share his beliefs of the ways in which local news organizations impact the communities they serve. He notes that while it may grow more challenging each year, journalists and communities alike should work to keep the importance and awareness of community journalism high.
I believe that while the community journalism we are used to may change and develop into something new, I think there will always be a place for community journalism. As long as it grows and adapts to ways that keep readers interested there will be people reading and watching.