‘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.
Bibliographical noteThis article has been accepted by Intellect to be published in Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies
- provincial press
- local newspaper
- ‘good of the community’