Local News Journalism Conference: Does Local News Matter? Tales From the Trenches -- J-Source.ca -- The Canadian Journalism Project

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 18:53

Posted by fcadweb on November 10, 2015

Local News Journalism Conference: Does Local News Matter? Tales From the Trenches

Moderator: Asmaa Malik, Ryerson UniversityKristy Hess, Deakin UniversityLocal news is gaining increasing traction in academic scholarship on a global scale as news media reassess their place in the digital terrain. Understanding local journalism and why it matters is an important component to broader understandings of news and journalism. Hess will provide an overview of the role of local news in western democracies, including key concepts, the importance of local news to our daily lives and the challenges and practicesunique to the local level, from business models to the power that comes from connecting people to others and to place.James Gordon, Municipal councillor, City of GuelphThe 149-year-old Guelph Mercury, one of the oldest daily newspapers in Canada, published its last edition in January 2016. The day before the closure, readers gathered outside the Mercury’s newsroom to hug staff, thank reporters and even embrace the building. James Gordon, who is a city councillor for the community of 130,000, reflects on the state of local news in the post-Mercury era. In the absence of a news outlet that provides balanced coverage, he says, the loudest voices – rather than the most reasoned – prevail.Brian Lambie, President, Redbrick CommunicationsMedia Relations Contact, Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO)Media is changing as traditional providers compete with social media. News moves faster. Less time and fewer resources are available for research. Communities are losing traditional news sources. A few urban centres receive intense coverage, while the majority of communities receive relatively little. The local news vacuum is being filled by new forms of media, with different rules, values and expectations. Attribution is often anonymous and advocacy and marketing can masquerade as objective news. Out of necessity, governments and businesses are responding by publishing their own news independently.Knia Singh J.D., Community activistKnia Singh, past president and co-founder of the Osgoode Society Against Institutional Injustice, is currently articling at the firm of Dallas Criminal Defence in Toronto. His fight to end random police checks that have disproportionately targeted Black and Indigenous men involved launching a constitutional challenge and a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario complaint. In his role as a “go to” source for journalists writing about racial profiling by police, he has observed first-hand how local news coverage can play a role in changing perceptions, police practices and government policy.

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