Local Press and the Community

Essay, 2002
8 Pages, Grade: 1 (A)


Table Of Content


What is local?

What do they want and what are they there for?

Why are they so important?

No community or total community paper? The free sheets

The commercialisation of the local press

Conclusion: What does the future hold?



This essay will evaluate the changing connection between the local press and the community. It will firstly describe the local press and summarise its different forms of publications like the weekly and daily paid-for newspapers and the free sheets. It will further historically analyse the ideology behind the local press and the ideals it stands for. After that, the essay will summarise why the local press matters, as well for the whole media market, the advertisers as for the community. It will then summarise two big changes in the local press, which influenced the relationship with the community: First, the introduction and rise of the so-called free sheets and free newspapers, and then the commercialisation and globalisation of the local media market. Finally, the essay will conclude with the changes which are expected to come - and lately came - in the local press and evaluate which way they can find – and have found - to get along with them.

What is local?

Local in general refers to a relatively small entity or space and means something cosy and nearby (Kleinsteuber, 1992). The term local media can only be seen relatively because most of the content is centrally produced (Kleinsteuber, 1992). Historically, many of the local newspapers had their origin in rich local industrialists’ families (Curran, 2000, page 38), but nowadays, the local press is

only local and regional in that its markets are defined by locality and region. In terms of its ownership and its business strategy it is a massive corporate enterprise based on the elimination of territorial competition and a system of

local regulated monopoly (Franklin, 1991, page 54).

The local press provides local news and features based on information from councils, police and fire services and focus on a loyalty with their community. In the past, many of the journalists were non-graduates, but this has changed now (Franklin, 1998). Stories can be considered as local “when they apply specifically to some aspect of the area in which the newspaper circulates” (Franklin, 1991, page 60). Obviously, this local story can become of national interest, as it has happened for example with the mad cow disease, which started as a local farming news (Franklin, 1991, page 61).

In 2002 there were 1301 regional and local newspapers in the UK (Newspaper Society, 2002). The main forms of local press are either daily or weekly paid-fors, which are bought by readers, or free sheets, which are completely financed by advertisement. The daily local paid-for was traditionally the main source of information of local, national and international character for the working-class, whereby the local stories made the most part of the newspaper. The local weekly on the other hand, nearly only included local stories; national or international stories were only published if they could in any way be given a local angle (Franklin, 1991, page 62). The free sheets obviously are completely different and their influence on the local press will be described in a later paragraph.

What do they want and what are they there for?

Historically, the local press reported about births, marriages, weddings, communal rites, parties or annual prize givings and fevered local patriotism. This has partly changed – the amount of these kind of news has declined as I have noticed during my work placement - but they still try to express great diversity, reflect different local opinions (Franklin, 1991), “block out conflict, minimize differences and encourage positive identification with the local community” (Curran, 2000, page 38). The local newspapers are “supplying local communities with news and information in a way which no other medium can” (McNair, 1999, page 199), they are the first and best in local stories, have a high degree of reader loyalty and know that the local news and information guarantees readers and attracts advertisers (McNair, 1999, page 199). A very good local newspaper would campaign and fight for its readers, take sides in a debate, show the news of the world through the local perspective and thereby reflect the community. The big advantage for them, compared for example to television, is, that they do not have to be balanced (Glover, 1998, page 121). The interesting thing behind a local newspaper is, a more direct connection between the reader and writer compared to any other media (Franklin, 1991). The basis of the local press was to approach news “both as factual and as having a moral and societal value” (Franklin, 1991, page 56). Essential to this idea is the community, a social unit, which is united by common sets of interest and worldview, which is different to others’. The journalists’ role in this is to make a record of the community and participate in the social control (Franklin, 1991, page 58).


Excerpt out of 8 pages


Local Press and the Community
Liverpool John Moores University  (Media)
1 (A)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
484 KB
Essay over the change in the relationship between the press and society.
Local, Press, Community
Quote paper
Torsten Teering (Author), 2002, Local Press and the Community, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/21852


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