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Definition for Community newspaper / Community Journalism

Definition for Community newspaper / Community Journalism

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In Saving Community Journalism, we focus on coming up with a broad and encompassing definition for community newspapers.  According to the traditional definition, a community newspaper is a small daily or non-daily with less than 15,000 in circulation. But in the digital age, that definition is becoming outdated, as more and more readers get their news from digital sources.  Therefore, in the book, we defined a community newspaper as any news organization whose primary mission is to cover the important issues that affect a cohesive and well-defined geographic, ethnic or cultural community.

The Canadian Community Newspaper Awards celebrate the best in community publishing from across the country. Newspapers of similar circulation size compete against each other and are judged by a panel of industry experts. With a diverse array of awards categories covering editorial, photography and multimedia, the Canadian Community Newspaper Awards offer learning opportunities for publications of all shapes and sizes.

Newspapers unite the various political and governmental entities in our geographic region and help us understand what our vote means to the larger community, or why we should be concerned about a certain issue that especially affects our town or zip code. A good local newspaper also informs us of nearby employment opportunities and guides our shopping activities in the area.  And it connects us socially with others in the community, who share our passions, our interests, and our concerns. As one reader summed it up, “Even though I’m on Facebook a lot, I still depend on the newspaper to tell me about people in this community I don’t know or know only in passing.”

A community newspaper can have a circulation of a few thousand readers or nearly a hundred thousand. What is important is not the size; rather, it is the mission of the newspaper.  Under this new definition, when we speak about “community newspapers” we are talking about small and midsize dailies, non-dailies, and ethnic newspapers.  This is a large group, comprising almost all of the country’s 11,000 papers.  The hundred or so remaining metro and regional papers face slightly different issues and may have a different, broader mission. For more information on metro papers, see Lesson Four.

Newspapers encourage economic vitality in a region by providing a marketplace for readers and advertisers to connect. Market surveys have shown that, even in a “digital” age, most people buy goods and services close to home. So there is a still a need for a central marketplace that allows local merchants to inform current and potential customers about the multiple products and services available in the area. Dozens of advertisers interviewed by UNC over the last four years expressed a desire to support the local newspaper.  As one advertiser put it, “I realize that it is important for this community – and for my business and other small businesses – for the newspaper to survive.”

There is a growing number of community blogs coming to the surface. These local bloggers and community members (many who have no journalism background) join together to write about and advocate for their community in an online forum. These blogs serve as watchdogs to hold the public and other media outlets accountable for their actions. According to a Zogby International survey, 70% of Americans say journalism is important to maintaining community quality of life, and 67% say the traditional media are out of touch with what citizens want from their news. One more Journalist community was developed by Team Media services (TMS), Hyderabad (India) based Telug News Agency by name "Crime Reporter's Community"

This newspaper, as with many community journalism publications, has sole control over editorial content. The content itself is very important and relevant to Maine communities and revolves around "core value" choices, as determined by the community. The community journalist reporters were required to give readers a background on each perspective and to "write an expository rather than conventional he-said/she-said style."

Source: ww4.hdnux.com

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