Public Service Journalism and Engagement in us Hyperlocal Nonprofits

Authored by: Patrick Ferrucci

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:

10.4324/9781351239943-50

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Abstract

This chapter explores the rise and fall in the mainstream media of the approach that came to be known as public journalism, or civic journalism, propounded by practitioner Davis Merritt and scholar Jay Rosen in the 1990s, and argues that key tenets of the concept have been embraced in a modified manner by digitally native news nonprofits (DNNNs). These are news organizations birthed on the internet without any legacy component that came first, such as a newspaper. DNNNs are typically funded through a variety of revenue streams including but not limited to grants, reader donations, memberships, advertising, corporate sponsorships, live events, and community workshops. Through in-depth interviews with 27 journalists working on 20 DNNNs, the chapter explores the manner of their engagement with communities and relates these to the principles inherent in public journalism. It finds that these have been recast in the digital era as what is better termed public service journalism. The principles are those of open dialogue; allowing ordinary people to have influence over news agendas; making the news more understandable; and reporting in a manner that galvanizes, rather than frustrates, the community.

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