Local news trends in U.S. and U.K to be explored at June conference
This is a sneak peek at research to be presented June 3-4, 2017 at “Is no local news bad news? Local journalism and its future,” a conference hosted by the Ryerson Journalism Research Centre. Click here to learn more and register.
By STEPH WECHSLER
Intersecting trends from both the United States and the United Kingdom show that there may be valuable lessons to be found in comparing different news markets across the world, according to journalism researchers based in the U.S.
Shared characteristics like the decline of print and the essential hemorrhaging of digital ad revenue in English-language news environments have meant that many outlets have had to test potential solutions to newsroom woes. But geography often limits where organizations look to find models for success.
“There are similarities and there are potential solutions that might be working in one place that could potentially be deployed somewhere else,” says Damian Radcliffe, the Carolyn S. Chambers Professor in Journalism at the University of Oregon
“When we have these kinds of conversations in the States, it’s very North America-centric [but] often, we don’t even look across the borders to look what’s going on in Canada, and yet there are many parallels.”
Radcliffe will explore the findings of his comparative analysis of U.S and U.K. markets, which is based on data aggregated by research groups in both countries, as well as communications regulators, at Is no local new bad news? Local journalism and its future in June. He will be presenting his research at a Saturday panel on Understanding Local Journalism and on Sunday, when presenters will discuss the economics of local news.
Overall, there are significant data gaps resulting from focusing too much on larger media organizations for potential solutions, he says. Radcliffe and his research partner Christopher Ali, assistant professor in media studies at the University of Virginia, recently wrote about the results of their extensive survey for the Columbia Journalism Review.
“Five or six years ago, there were a lot of conversations about the importance of local news, of local journalism, and discussions about what could we do to safeguard that, to potentially strengthen it,” says Radcliffe.
“And those discussions seem to have kind of gone by the wayside. We need to have more discussions about how we can reinvigorate that dialogue, where we can ask the kinds of tough questions about what can be done, but at the same time, also highlight, despite the very challenging circumstances, there’s still lots of fantastic great local journalism going on that too often just gets overlooked as part of a wider doom-and-gloom narrative about the state of the industry.”