Community Journalism

in Writing-speaking

Community journalism is locally oriented, professional news coverage that typically focuses on city neighbourhoods, individual suburbs or small towns, rather than metropolitan, state, national or world news.

If it covers wider topics, community journalism concentrates on the effect they have on local readers. Community newspapers, often but not always publish weekly, and also tend to cover subjects larger news media do not. Some examples of topics are students on the honour roll at the local high school, school sports, crimes such as vandalism, zoning issues and other details of community life. Sometimes dismissed as "chicken dinner" stories, such "hyperlocal" coverage often plays a vital role in building and maintaining neighbourhoods.

An increasing number of community newspapers are now owned by large media organizations, although many rural papers are still independent or "mom and pop" operations.

Community journalists are typically trained professional reporters and editors. Some specialized training programs have recently emerged at established undergraduate and graduate journalism programs. Community journalism should not be confused with the work of citizen journalists, who are often unpaid amateurs, or with civic journalism, although many community newspapers practice that.

At the Emerging Mind of Community Journalism conference, participants created a list characterizing community journalism: community journalism is intimate, caring, and personal; it reflects the community and tells its stories; and it embraces a leadership role.

The journalism debate

Not everyone agrees on the implementation of community journalism into the news system. Traditionally, journalists advocate avoiding any real or perceived conflict of interests, which can be anything from refraining from joining community groups, to not pledging money to a candidate they support. Community journalism, however, encourages the coverage of news that hits close to home, even for the journalist covering the story.

Some philosophers encourage professional journalists to remain independent, whereas others insist on committing to local and generalized communities as a prerequisite for true citizenship. Some say community involvement is fine for editors and publishers, but not for the reporters who have the ability to “shape” the news. Critics say this involvement is a risk for anyone involved in producing the news.

Clifford Christians, co-author of Good News Social Ethics and the Press, urges journalists to realize that their publics may gravitate toward self-interest, and therefore the journalists should report stories that lessen the isolationism that comes from reading wider, world-based stories. A fundamental flaw in community journalism is the stubborn resistance to change and a compulsion to shape the system to maintain community standards.

Loyalty to a community is the inevitable price of acceptance, and the fee is creating sharp conflicts with allegiance to the truth. Through community journalism, attitudes about necessary information change from the need for a broad range of information (pluralism) to a reliance on information necessary to maintain community values and fortify the status quo (reinforcement).

Sooner or later group importance could transcend the value of distributing accurate information both internally to members of the group, and externally about the community or group.

Others think the switch toward community journalism is a natural reaction to our out-of-touch mega media. J. Herbert Altschull, writer of "A Crisis of Conscience: Is Community Journalism the Answer?" sees community journalism as a natural outgrowth from concerns of the media’s slippage in credibility and influence.

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Eye Magazine has 3 articles online

The Eye Magazine is a monthly lifestyle magazine distributed to over 13,250 homes in the Redcar, Marske & New Marske areas.

The Eye Magazine publication which has been running for over 2 years now has recently teamed up with the brand new fully interactive community website ( which encourages people of the local area to post news and stories which are circling and which matter to the local community.

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This article was published on 2012/03/12