Local Journalism and the Information Needs of Local Communities: Toward a scalable assessment approach
© 2016 Taylor & Francis. This paper presents a three-level conceptual and methodological framework for assessing local journalism and the extent to which it meets community information needs. This research grows from frequent calls from policymakers, foundations, and advocacy groups for methods and measures to facilitate comparative analyses of the state of local journalism in different communities. Further, the goal here is to develop a methodological approach that can be realistically scaled to large numbers of communities in order to facilitate analysis of both the factors that affect the state of local journalism and the ways local journalism may affect the state of local communities. The methodological approach presented here focuses on infrastructure (the availability of journalistic sources), output (the quantity of journalistic output from these sources), and performance (the extent to which this output is original, is about the local community, and addresses critical information needs). An exploratory application of this methodological approach is then presented for three communities. The results indicate substantial differences in the journalism infrastructure, output, and performance across these communities and suggest possible points of focus for future research.
Napoli, PM; Stonbely, S; McCollough, K; Renninger, B
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