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Origin stories of local journalism entrepreneurs

Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin ORCID: 2023. Origin stories of local journalism entrepreneurs. Journalism 24 (10) , pp. 2118-2135. 10.1177/14648849221115223

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This paper investigates the origin stories of local journalism entrepreneurs in the UK, based on 57 in-depth interviews and a survey of 116 practitioners, carried out in 2020–2021. In doing so, it focuses on the motivations and identities of editors of what are variably known as community journalism outlets and hyperlocals. These outlets represent a growing sector which has filled the gap left behind by the closure and consolidation of local and regional newspapers. Many have been established over the past decade, frequently by journalists previously working for traditional media organisations. Drawing on insights from the field of social enterprise, the article shows that, like other social entrepreneurs, community journalists are driven by a range of motivations: Their decisions to start up new outlets are frequently informed by economic conditions, including gaps in the local news market. But more importantly, they also tend to be strongly influenced by normative ideals, including the desire to improve their communities through news provision. The distinctive articulation of these normative ideals demonstrates that local journalism entrepreneurs embody distinctive professional identities associated with conceptions of what constitutes “good” local journalism. These are tied to the provision of news which authentically captures the experience of the local community. Editors’ origin stories reveal an emphasis on authority grounded in knowledge of, and a passionate attachment to, the local community.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 1464-8849
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 July 2022
Date of Acceptance: 28 June 2022
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2023 14:26

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