What Can We Learn from Independent Family-Owned Local Media Groups?

Case studies from the United Kingdom

Authored by: Sarah O’Hara

The Routledge Companion to Local Media and Journalism

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780815375364
eBook ISBN: 9781351239943
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351239943-27

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Abstract

Local media organisations were traditionally founded as guardians of their local communities, embedded in the towns in which they published. Historically, within the United Kingdom, local newspapers were independent family-owned businesses. These newspapers were an integral part of the local community, offering opinion and debate on matters of local importance, pulling together communities, defined geographically or by municipal administrative boundaries. However, this tradition is under threat thanks to economic consolidation and technological change over the last 20 years. This chapter considers the uniqueness of family-owned independents in the local media landscape and argues that to some extent the future sustainability of truly local media could be in the hands of independent owners. Could, for example, a future business model for local newspaper groups be an economic model that capitalises on the local brand reputation through an extension of products and services delivered within the local publishing area?

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