Community Journalism 2005 Abstracts

Community Journalism Interest Group

When Casinos Come to Town: How Iowa Newspapers Framed Gambling Expansion and the Influence of these Frames on Citizens’ Approval or Rejection of Casinos in their Counties • Jason Michael Boucher, Iowa State • This study used framing theory to analyze the findings of a content analysis of four newspapers that serve different Iowa counties one year preceding and one year following each county’s casino referendum. The results show that the newspapers used the expansion debate, tax and economic frames the most, and relied heavily on state and local politicians as information sources. The orientation of opinion pieces was related to the referenda outcomes in each county.

Servicing the “Needy Mistress”: Commitment to People, Place, and Mission as a Function of Family Newspaper Ownership • Susan Brockus, Purdue University • Family members from six family-owned newspapers sold to media corporations in the past decade were interviewed to gain their perceptions on what it is like to grow up in, commit to, and ultimately sell the family newspaper after generations of ownership. It is the underlying concern of this project that there are differences between local and corporate ownership that have the potential for lasting impact upon cultural health, particularly in smaller markets and rural communities.

Newsroom Leaders’ Perceptions of the Role and Value of Copy Editors at Community Newspapers • Corbin Crable, Anna Morelock and Amber Willard, Kansas State University • This study maintains community newsroom leaders place less value on the role of copy editors than on other positions, such as designers, and have eliminated the copy editor or integrated the job into other positions due to budget constraints. Survey results from 77 community newspapers statewide showed leaders valued the work performed by copy editors but not employing one person whose sole task is copyediting.

Life and Death in a Small Town: Cultural Values and Memory in Community Newspaper Obituaries • Janice Hume, University of Georgia • This study analyzes 738 obituaries published in a twice-weekly newspaper, the Guntersville (Ala.) Advertiser-Gleam. The purpose is twofold—to show how citizens’ lives were publicly commemorated, and to illustrate the important role obituaries play in community newspapers. Obituaries did more than report the news of deaths. They celebrated life, and represented a kind of “ideal,” offering clues about values. What they revealed was a people with strong ties to place, family, church, and work.

Back to the Future: Allegheny Mountain Radio and Localism in West Virginia Community Radio • Maryanne Reed and Ralph E. Hanson, West Virginia University • Community radio is a form of non-commercial broadcasting designed to serve a specific geographic area. In recent years, community radio has become a viable alternative to both commercial and public radio, which produce nationally oriented programming designed for mass audiences. The value and impact of community radio can be seen through the work of Allegheny Mountain Radio, a three-station network serving a rural and geographically isolated region of southern West Virginia and Virginia.

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