Damian Radcliffe

“There is a lot more optimism about the future of the local media industry than perhaps you might expect,” says Damian Radcliffe, professor of journalism at the University of Oregon in the United States.

One of the reasons for that is because people in some communities are still buying newspapers, says Mr Radcliffe who over the course of the past three months has published three reports looking at the future of local newspapers in the United States.Circulations are holding steady or potentially growing as community newspapers have a really close relationship with their readers. Moreover, many smaller local newspapers, in particular, are often the only source of real original reporting in some towns.

“We need to have a more nuanced conversation about what’s happening in the newspaper industry,” Mr Radcliffe says. We need to understand that there are many types of newspaper industry rather than just one, homogenous entity. Each of these types of industry has a different experience and deals with changes differently depending on who’s financing it and the environment in which it operates.
“We need to change the conversation,” Mr Radcliffe says.

Too often we talk about what’s happening in newspapers and journalism, projecting an image of an industry that it’s on its knees and that risks of not being around in the future.

“That is simply not the case,” Mr Radcliffe says. “There is really valuable and important journalistic reporting happening on a daily basis across the U.S. It’s really impactful work being done.”