Facts about the project

Hyperlocal publishing – new forms of local media

A new kind of local media is growing outside from traditional media companies – local free newspapers, subscribed local one-day papers and independent local news sites. Previous research has mainly focused on local publishing in traditional settings like established newspapers and public service, while knowledge of new types of local media is still only fragmentary. The goal of the research project “hyperlocal publishing” – a collaboration between Södertörn University and Malmö University – is to remedy this knowledge gap.

The project maps how the hyperlocal media landscape looks like in Sweden, what kinds of new local media there are on the local markets and on what platforms the hyperlocal media exist. Do new local media emerge where traditional media are closing down and reduce their local coverage? Do they emerge mainly on digital platforms? The project also examines how the media ecosystem is situated in Sweden, that is, in what ways do new hyperlocal media relate to the major regional media companies (both newspapers and public service) as well as to social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Where can the information for the citizens be found and who is responsible for auditing local policymakers? Which channels are used for local debate and public meeting places in the local network society? Additionally, the project studies the users’ attitudes and relationships to new and established local media, through questions included in the nation-wide SOM survey (http://som.gu.se/undersokningar/den-nationella-som-undersokningen) 2016.

The project studies the new types of local media from three perspectives:

  • Editorial sustainability – how wide coverage has the editorial content, how do the new local media sources combine the use of different platforms (paid papers, free paper, web, social media and possibly community radio/local tv), what degree of professionalism do their journalism have, how local are their audiences, and what role does the audiences have as co-producers of the local content?
  • Economic sustainability – what does the patterns of ownerships look like, what economic conditions do the new local media sources have, what are the financial obstacles for the development of ne local media, and what position do they have on the local advertising markets?
  • The user perspective – how important are these new types of local media for the audience/users, what opportunities do the users have to participate and interact with the new media channels and their content production, and how do the users assess the credibility and importance of the new local media sources?

The project runs for two years starting in the autumn 2015 and ends in the autumn 2017.

The project is run by three researchers:

Gunnar Nygren, professor in journalism at Södertörn University. gunnar.nygren@sh.se

Sara Leckner, senior lecturer in media technology at Malmö University. sara.leckner@mah.se

Carina Tenor, journalist at Nerikes Allehanda and researcher at Södertörn University. carina.tenor@sh.se

A first presentation of results will be made at a seminar in May 2016 – the program and invitation will be posted on this blog.

Do you want more information – please contact one of the researchers!