Our presenter, Christina Smith, plans to engage with the audience on two major discussion points concerning community newspapers. First, she will briefly discuss one of her current research projects that explores why small-town, geographically-bounded U.S. weekly newspapers continue to be viable in the digital era, despite the struggles larger U.S. newspapers continue to undergo.
Based on a recent exploratory study, Smith argues that U.S. print weekly newspapers continue to be perceived by their audiences as the most relied upon news sources for the communities in which they serve. Community members believe that local newspapers, journalists and owners serve as community builders, produce relevant, truthful, local information, and are highly motivated by community needs in order to do their jobs – all of which have long been the foundational rules guiding community journalism.
Following the brief research presentation, Smith will share with viewers a useful survey tool she produced for research purposes that she believes newspaper publishers can use in their own communities to better understand the expectations of their audiences.
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Christina Smith is an assistant professor of communication at Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, Ga., where she teaches journalism. Before getting her Ph.D. in mass communications in 2015 at the University of Iowa, she worked in the newspaper industry as a daily and weekly news reporter for more than 13 years.
As a scholar, Smith's research interests include the roles of journalism in small, rural towns in the U.S., specifically as they relate to print weekly newspapers with circulations of less than 5,000.
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