Volume 4, Issue 1

This article provides clarity about the different types of journalism that come under Australia’s vibrant community media umbrella and conceptualizes their relationships to one another against the backdrop of dominant media. We draw on critical-cultural theory, using the concept of media power to argue that journalism invents and reinforces the idea of  “community” among audiences, generating advantages and sometimes inequalities as well.  It is also used to differentiate certain community journalism practices from mainstream norms and conventions, although we highlight that “community” is a powerful idea that dominant media use to their advantage as well.

Although community journalism is a global phenomenon, it would be folly to assume that the practices and roles of community-focused news media can be generalized across diverse cultures. That may be especially true with regard to the developing democracies, where socio-political divisions remain very much a part of living memory. This monograph brings together essays by media scholars from five different developing nations to illustrate the diversity of community journalism around the world, as well as to provide some baseline information for future study of community journalism in and across those nations.

Like other traditional aspects of weekly newspapers, editorial writing faces pressure as staffing cuts shrink newsrooms. This cross-cultural reporting project found agreement among editorialists, publishers, newspaper associations and academics in Australia, Canada and the U.S. that the practice of editorial writing is in decline, particularly among chain-owned weeklies. Editors may attempt to substitute personal columns, but columns often fail to provide the “institutional voice” that starts or shapes community conversations.

This case study examines the current state of community journalism in the Philippines. This paper builds from previous studies, especially those by Filipino community journalism scholar Crispin Maslog, on the community press in the Philippines. The focus of this paper is the community newspaper and online community news websites. This case study includes interviews with leading stakeholders in the community press sector of the country. Pertinent documents surrounding the community press were collected and analysed. 

A content analysis of community news sites affiliated with Irish newspapers shows that content selection reflects classic community news values and fulfills roles and functions similar to ones documented in historical research about community press and social organization in the United States. This illustrates the potential for Irish local media sites to be important agents of constructing community identity.