Rachel Matthews


    Accepting PhD Students

    PhD projects

    I am pleased to discuss supervision in the areas relating to the political economy of the regional newspaper, the history of the newspaper and the intersection of newspapers, news and communities.

    Willing to speak to media

    Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

    Research activity per year

    Personal profile


    I am a journalist-turned-academic who researches the significance of local media – particularly the legacy local newspaper – to society.

    My research uses an historicised political economic approach to interrogate the way in which the ideological value of ‘serving the good the community’, defined by a discourse of public service, has been used to legitimise a particular financial model for local and regional news, to the detriment of marginalised communities. This enables a critique of current responses to the impact of digital technology on this area, which is explored both theoretically and via practice-based interventions in this landscape, working in partnership with practitioners to explore these areas.

    I have a professional background in the legacy local newspaper industry where I worked at a senior editorial level. I hold a qualification from the National Council for Training of Journalists. I continue to influence the contemporary industry via my membership of the Ethics Committee of Impress and additional professional activities; In 2023 I was a judge for the Regional Press Awards so acting as an arbiter of excellence in this field.

    My current leadership focus at Coventry University is on the extension of Research Enriched Learning to enhance the student experience. Based in the Institute of Creative Cultures I work with a small team to develop and embed University-wide systems and strategies to strengthen the networks between research and faculty structures in order to maximise the impact of the REL agenda. This builds on my work as Associate Head of School for Research in the School of Media and Performing Arts. Beyond CU, I am founding chair of the Local and Community Media Network of MeCCSA.


    The history of the provincial newspaper in England; business models for provincial newspapers, emerging provincial news practice.

    Research Interests

    The practice of local journalism; the relationship between local news and local communities; the history of the provincial newspaper as a media form and as a business

    Vision Statement


    My mission is to reveal the full impact of local newspapers on the people and places to which they relate. My perspective builds on my own experience working in weekly and daily newspapers. As an academic, I have written the first history to scope the development of the local newspaper as a particular media form and I now apply that to the contemporary context to address the questions above. This leads me to question fundamental assumptions about the local newspaper and to examine questions about their relationship to communities in past, present and future in order to capture their full significance to places and people. In doing so, I challenge industry norms in relation to conception of the role of local newspapers and local journalists and also academic approaches, particularly in relation to the way in which theoretical approaches to community can limit our ability to fully appreciate the benefits of local media to local people.


    Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
    • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

    Education/Academic qualification

    Journalism Studies, Doctorate, The Provincial Press and the Community: An Historical Perspective, Cardiff University

    Award Date: 3 Nov 2014

    English and Philosophy, Degree, University of East Anglia

    Award Date: 3 Jul 1989

    External positions

    Freelance journalist


    Deputy Editor, Banbury Guardian


    News Editor, Gloucestershire Echo


    Newspaper Journalist



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