How do local journalists think about editorial quality in a changing environment?
In a new article led by Joy Jenkins (who did amazing work for us at RISJ on local news), we use in-depth 48 interviews from across Finland, France, Germany, and the UK to identify the main value aspirations, and find a focus on traditional values like proximity and public service but also on popularity.
Thus, while some critics and commentators see quality journalism in opposition to popular journalism, our interviewees see quality and popularity as going hand in hand.
Abstract below, full article here.
Local media around the world are facing challenges, including shrinking staff sizes and diminished advertising and subscription revenues. They are also working to adapt their editorial processes to meet the needs of online audiences. This comparative study used in-depth interviews with managers, editors, and reporters at local and regional newspapers in four countries to examine how they define and distinguish quality journalism and the challenges and opportunities for producing quality work in the digital environment. The findings show that local journalists remain focused on providing journalism that serves the needs of their communities, reflecting traditional news values, such as proximity and public service. However, their considerations of quality local news are also evolving to embrace forms of journalism that can draw broad online audiences, such as service, solutions, and constructive approaches. While normative theories and some critics may place quality journalism in opposition to popular journalism, local journalists in practice do not see quality and popularity in opposition but as going hand in hand.