Why real community newspapers exist

In my last blog post, I wrote about how many regional papers are calling themselves community newspapers despite being nothing of the sort.

I want to reclaim the term "community newspaper".  A real community newspaper is created by the community with the fundamental aim of enriching the community it serves. This enrichment may take many forms, including but not limited to:

  • Giving local people a space to talk to each other
  • Being a source of accurate, helpful information (This information doesn't have to be local; it just has to be relevant.)
  • Providing an outlet for local people's creativity
  • Presenting a positive image of the area while not ignoring the bad news
  • Helping the community to identify as a community; encouraging people to feel ownership of their local area
  • Encouraging active involvement, breaking down the barriers between reader and contributor
  • Providing employment, training or work experience opportunities locally

Community newspapers around the world all have different ways of fulfilling their remit. What they all have in common is the goal of making their community a better place.


Your comments on your blog pages on community journalism are very interesting.  I'm involved in collecting and researching church magazines.  With due allowance for their special nature, they seem to fall pretty well within your definition.

   As such, with 30,000 - 40,000 (who knows exactly?) titles produced in England alone every month, they form a massive contribution to the 'industry'.

   Have you any thoughts about lines of research and development drawing on this species of the genre?

Wow, I'd never thought of church magazines as community journalism before, but I think you're right: they do fit my definition. When I was at the Oxford Mail we used to get all the church newsletters so we could comb through them for possible stories.

I'm afraid I don't have any ideas for your research, though - well, certainly nothing that you won't have thought of yourself.