Volume 4, Issue 2

As women across West Virginia continue to ascend the editorial ranks of the state’s newspapers at an increasing rate, it’s valuable to study how they obtained their positions and what role culture – Appalachian, newsroom, and others – has played in the process. Ten women in high editorial positions at West Virginia newspapers were interviewed, and their experiences were analyzed using grounded theory. A sense of community was the unifying concept, and they identified insider/outsider barriers, community boosts and complications, and reciprocity as the main factors comprising it, with their sex playing a lesser but still notable role.

This ethnographic study examines the effect leadership can have on newsroom culture and, ultimately, how news is produced. Lowery and Gade (2011) argued that the future of community journalism will happen online, and Kaye and Quinn (2010) noted that the Internet allows for different funding models of journalism. Together, this means online community journalism will take many different forms over the next decade. This study examines one popular form of community journalism: the digitally native news nonprofit. The study illustrates that when a journalist, and not a business executive or executives, controls the entire news operation, the community journalism organization focuses on quality journalism more than profits.

The Boy Scouts of America are a staple in American community newspaper coverage. This was particularly true in 2013, when the BSA adopted a controversial policy concerning members who are gay. This qualitative analysis compares 2012 community newspaper coverage of the Boy Scouts with culturally preservationist rhetoric espoused by conservative politicians. Analysis found that community newspapers avoid controversy entirely and instead focus on positive displays of local scouts, achievements, and connections. It implies that community newspapers are imagining an association between those local identities, and that conservative political rhetoric imposes cultural associations which are not reflected by community media. This study of 2012 news is particularly noteworthy given intervening and recent changes concerning the Boy Scouts’ membership, and the growing cultural prominence of gay rights and gay marriage.