We believe community journalism is the future of local journalism.
Community journalism is a form of local journalism that transfers power from corporations to the grassroots. Embracing the move towards decentralisation, it gives local people greater agency over the messaging within their area, thereby restoring trust and authenticity in the local media.
Born from adversity, it has flourished in ‘news deserts’, that is to say areas that have limited access to comprehensive news and information due largely to cuts from national or regional media companies.
Community journalism is led by the grassroots, viewing local issues through the lens of local people. It allows the local community to determine the news and stories they wish to be covered. By giving a platform to local people, it helps the community solve its own problems and bring about the change they want to see. Community outreach is defining characteristic; journalists are required to engage with people in hard-to-reach communities to curate, collate and create content relevant to them. Additionally, there is a focus on producing content for multiple platforms in order to reach a diverse demographic of readers.
This form of journalism is constructive, working for the benefit of the community, not at its expense. Constructive journalism is a response to the increasing tabloidisation, sensationalism, and negativity bias in the news media today. It is an approach that aims to provide audiences with a fair, accurate, and contextualised picture of the world, without over-emphasising the negative or what is going wrong.
It addresses pressing cultural issues that impact the daily lives of local people. It does this by pushing past stereotypes and misconceptions that divide communities, focusing instead on the commonality of human experience. It celebrates cultural diversity, be that social, ethnic, age, gender or religious helping to bring about resolutions that benefit the community as a whole. Cross-culture communication skills are essential to help journalists overcome bias in their reporting and produce journalism that is more representative, diverse and trusted.
It is produced from within the local area by community reporters who are embedded in the local community. Community news outlets are viewed as long-term guardians of the community, working collaboratively with the local community to produce content that represents the needs of local people rather than the agenda of far-removed editors in national or regional news rooms.
Find out about courses, training and mentoring at the School of Community Journalism.