Web 2.0 and the Creation of Local News Clusters

Gary Graham

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

    Abstract

    At the heart of the Digital Britain report is the commitment to provide a free, independent and active press, and the key to this is the civic function played by local journalism. Local news media is important to a functioning democracy, making government accountable to its electorate while offering community plurality. The guardian of local interests has historically been the press, but its survival is terminally undermined by the internet's threat to classified property, motors and job advertising compounded by recession and reduced public sector spending. As the existing commercial model of local news media organization fails thereby putting the basis of news gathering under acute strain, the ability of local news media to sustain a plurality of community voices will inevitably suffer. What is the threat? Is it (i) the risk of loss of competition to the BBC; (ii) a further undermining of the democratic infrastructure; (iii) a weakening of local news media production and distribution; (iv) new social media and alternative platforms or a combination of all of these? These questions will be addressed during this workshop. While Digital Britain's goal is widely agreed for local news media, its facilitation is frustratingly opaque. Rather than outlining detailed plans to change the current regional format, it asks for a co-ordinated response from government, business and citizens including local ownership, community media, and non-profit organizations on how to restructure news output on a local level. Hyper local news provision it argues will take hold among consumers given the right culture. I will present details of my own research in the US which revealed that in cities such as San Diego and Raleigh (North Carolina) volunteer journalists are already being trained by the Knight Foundation to become coordinators of user generated content. This workshop will go on to investigate the restructuring of the local news media ecosystem and its transformation towards a multimedia news cluster or bureau which fuses together local and regional TV, newspapers, community radio, citizen journalism, blogging and community involvement into an online digital format. The sustainability of business models, hyper-local news provision, community democracy, the societal watchdog, coordination of user generated content, new types of news provision, co-locating resources and training, cross media ownership and control are some of the issues touched upon throughout the workshop to stimulate participation and debate.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2010
    EventWeb 2.0: Services, Users and Applications - Oxford University eResearch Centre
    Duration: 18 Jan 201019 Jan 2010

    Conference

    ConferenceWeb 2.0: Services, Users and Applications
    CityOxford University eResearch Centre
    Period18/01/1019/01/10

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