The ideological challenge for the regional press; reappraising the community value of local newspapers

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Abstract

‘Existing for the good the community’ has been an established claim to legitimacy for the English regional press since the nineteenth century. Expressed varying as a localised version of the fourth estate or ‘parish pump patriotism’ (Franklin and Murphy 1991: 56), this paper understands this notion as a discursive position which underwrites claims by the local newspaper to act as a ‘watchdog’ on behalf of those readers it seeks to serve. As such it serves an ideological function and justifies the normative practices of the industry. However, interviews with newspaper workers suggest that while the ‘good of the community ’ remains a key professional value, increasingly they feel compromised in their ability to uphold it due to the economic environment in which they are operating. It concludes with the proposition that the political economy of the local newspaper needs to invest in real terms in the ‘good of the community’ if its normative function is to be retained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-56
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies
Volume6
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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regional press
newspaper
community
patriotism
Pumps
parish
Economics
political economy
legitimacy
nineteenth century
worker
Industry
industry
ability
interview
economics
Values

Bibliographical note

This article has been accepted by Intellect to be published in Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies

Keywords

  • provincial press
  • local newspaper
  • watchdog
  • ‘good of the community’
  • journalism
  • news

Cite this

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abstract = "‘Existing for the good the community’ has been an established claim to legitimacy for the English regional press since the nineteenth century. Expressed varying as a localised version of the fourth estate or ‘parish pump patriotism’ (Franklin and Murphy 1991: 56), this paper understands this notion as a discursive position which underwrites claims by the local newspaper to act as a ‘watchdog’ on behalf of those readers it seeks to serve. As such it serves an ideological function and justifies the normative practices of the industry. However, interviews with newspaper workers suggest that while the ‘good of the community ’ remains a key professional value, increasingly they feel compromised in their ability to uphold it due to the economic environment in which they are operating. It concludes with the proposition that the political economy of the local newspaper needs to invest in real terms in the ‘good of the community’ if its normative function is to be retained.",
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AB - ‘Existing for the good the community’ has been an established claim to legitimacy for the English regional press since the nineteenth century. Expressed varying as a localised version of the fourth estate or ‘parish pump patriotism’ (Franklin and Murphy 1991: 56), this paper understands this notion as a discursive position which underwrites claims by the local newspaper to act as a ‘watchdog’ on behalf of those readers it seeks to serve. As such it serves an ideological function and justifies the normative practices of the industry. However, interviews with newspaper workers suggest that while the ‘good of the community ’ remains a key professional value, increasingly they feel compromised in their ability to uphold it due to the economic environment in which they are operating. It concludes with the proposition that the political economy of the local newspaper needs to invest in real terms in the ‘good of the community’ if its normative function is to be retained.

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