Letter from the Editors

spring 2018

In this special publication, we explore the changing role of local news in our current media reality and beyond. It brings together peer-reviewed papers by academics who gathered for a dynamic and engaging international conference in 2017. The collection explores different facets of local news, and asks how we might begin to move forward in a way that preserves the most crucial parts of traditional news production and distribution models, while building on the best of what we are learning from technological disruption. It considers the role of local news in Canada and around the world, and asks what role policy, financing models, and new technologies might play in forging a new path forward. Above all, it invites the reader to draw their own conclusions.

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Editors: Jaigris Hodson, Royal Roads University
and Asmaa Malik, Ryerson University

table of contents

Shattering the myth? Audiences’ relationship to local media and local news revisited

Lenka Waschková Císařová, Masaryk University
Jakub Macek, Masaryk University
Alena Macková, Masaryk University

Assessing news media infrastructure: A state-level analysis

Philip M. Napoli, Duke University
Ian Dunham, Rutgers University
Jessica Mahone, The Democracy Fund

The Local News Map: Transparency, credibility, and critical cartography

April Lindgren, Ryerson University
Jon Corbett, University of British Columbia

Geospatial tools for the visualization and analysis of local news distribution

Claus Rinner, Ryerson University
Andrew Komaromy, Ryerson University
April Lindgren, Ryerson University

Southern voices telling Northern stories: The importance of local media in coverage of the Crystal Serenity cruise

Tyler Nagel, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Alycia Mutual, University of Northern British Columbia

From the Field: Issues in Local News

Ryerson University student journalists Steph Wechsler and Spencer Turcotte travelled across Ontario, Canada to share the stories of local news organizations and their struggles and successes.

Holding the police to account

The former Toronto police practice of “carding,” documenting the personal details of citizens, usually with no charges laid, was the subject of a major Toronto Star investigation in 2012. Experts discuss how local news coverage and community activism were instrumental in creating the public awareness necessary to end the discriminatory practice.

A local news success story

Between business models teetering on the edges of sustainability and increased corporate media consolidation, small-market newspapers across Canada are struggling to serve their sprawling and diverse populations. But in Haliburton, Ontario, the heart of cottage country, news organizations are telling a different story. Residents explain how their community is bucking the trend.

Small market struggles for survival

Residents of Port Hope, Ontario saw the availability of local news decline rapidly after a Canadian newspaper chain amalgamated the area’s three local papers in 2009. Eight years later, increased media concentration has seen that paper shut down. Local media experts discuss what news production looked like in the years between the consolidation and the closure.

The role of ethnic media outlets

Ethnic and community newspapers and broadcast stations are quietly robust pockets of journalism in the crowded Canadian media landscape. The Canadian Ethnic Media Association has created a directory of outlets to encourage collaboration and foster discussion about ethnic media’s importance in local communities across the country.