Hyperlocal Journalism and PR: Diversity in Roles and Interactions
Keywords: hyperlocal news, media entrepreneurs, PR, community, local governments
AbstractHyperlocal media has repeatedly been framed as a potential saviour of local journalism, but the democratic and civic role that often is ascribed to hyperlocals is not obvious or uncomplicated. The hyperlocals’ vulnerable economic situation makes them dependent on free content, for example material produced by local councils or organizations. This paper investigates the role of hyperlocal media entrepreneurs and their interaction with local councils and other stakeholders. We examine how the hyperlocal media entrepreneurs supply their communities with news in places of a media void, and how they perceive their role in their communities. Findings from this qualitative study show that the media entrepreneurs view their news production as an important part of the local community. They provide a forum for debate and information for citizens, local governments and organizations. Their service also includes a channel for local events relevant for the community. The interactions with the local governments vary, as well as the hyperlocal entrepreneurs’ evaluation of how the information provided by the councils can or should be handled. The relation between hyperlocal media entrepreneurs and local governments is a complex process, including both interrelated and contradictory goals.
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