Lindsey L. Wotanis

In December 2008, the Laurel Leader, a weekly newspaper serving Laurel, Maryland, moved its newsroom 10 miles north of town to a consolidated newsroom in Columbia, Maryland as a result of corporate financial constraints and real estate consolidation. This study, which utilizes ethnographic interviewing, examines the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders including journalists, readers, city officials, and advertisers on this relocation. James Carey’s (1989) ritual theory is used as a theoretical framework to explain the community’s reaction to this change. Findings suggest newsroom location contributes to stakeholders’ sense of community, which is largely influenced by readers’ sense of place. Findings also suggest the move impacted key stakeholders’ — journalists, readers and advertisers — perceptions of the newspaper’s ability to cover the community.