Local media is at a turning point. Legacy outlets – television and newspapers – are declining while emerging platforms are failing to take their place. When it comes to the policies and regulations governing local television, regulators are struggling to address audience gravitation and fragmentation, the declining commercial viability of broadcasting, and the ongoing crisis of journalism. In an era of digital platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, regulators are also grappling with a question they had never anticipated: What does it mean to be local in the digital age? The lack of an answer has left them unsure of how to define a locality, what counts as local news, if the information needs of communities are being met, and the larger role of local media in a democracy.
In his new book, Media Localism: The Policies of Place (University of Illinois Press, 2017), Christopher Ali explains, assesses, and critiques these issues and asks how communication regulators in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom defined, mobilized and regulated “the local” in broadcasting. Through policy critique and intervention Ali argues that it is only through redefining the scope of localism that regulators can properly understand and encourage local media in the 21st century.
Dr. Christopher Ali is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Research in Global Communication. His research focuses on communication policy and regulation, localism, local news/local journalism, and critical theory. His new book, Media Localism: The Policies of Place (University of Illinois Press, 2017) addresses the difficulties of defining and regulating local media in the 21st century in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada and the implications these difficulties have for the long-term viability of local news.
While at CARGC, Christopher will be working on a new book project, Farm Fresh Spectrum: Rural Interventions in Communication Policy, which will investigate the roles of farming communities in shaping communication policy. Christopher is also a Fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University finishing a project on the state of small market newspapers in the United States called Local News in a Digital World: Small Market Newspapers in an Era of Digital Disruption.
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