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The provincial press and the community: a historical perspective

Matthews, Rachel 2014. The provincial press and the community: a historical perspective. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Serving the good of the community is a professional value prized by those who work in the provincial press. It is also seen as a vital role for local newspapers by those outside the industry. A localised form of the Fourth Estate, the good of the community therefore justifies and underpins the routines and news values of those who work in regional and local news organisations. This thesis investigates the extent to which this notion serves as a functional value for the English provincial news industry; it positions it within an historical context to understand its relationship with the economic structure of the local newspaper. As such, after Foucault, it constitutes the good of the community as a discursive position which functions in different ways during different periods of development for the provincial press. The history of the provincial press is charted from its inception in the eighteenth century to the present day. This history conceptualises its development within six distinct stages; as such it seeks to demonstrate the fluidity of the notion of serving the good of the community which is presented as absolute by the industry. Interviews with current workers within the industry are used to expose the way in which the concept functions for the industry today and concomitant changes wrought by digital innovation. These demonstrate that the notion functions best at those titles which enjoy direct investment in their ability to act in a way which serves the good the community; conversely it is most under threat at those titles which are increasingly removed from their locale for reasons of profit. This thesis ends with the suggestion that preserving the ability of the provincial news industry to serve the good of the community necessitates a new approach to an assessment of its value; it suggests that alternative funding models are needed if the ability of the industry to meet this goal is to be retained.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Uncontrolled Keywords: provincial press, regional newspaper, good of the community, watchdog, newspaper history, journalism history, news, local journalism.
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 23:53

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