"Revising Legacy Media Practices to Serve Hyperlocal Information Needs of Marginalized Populations." Journalism Practice, 2020.

Letrell Crittenden and Antoine Haywood

This study explores how two nonprofit media organizations–PublicSource and Philadelphia Community Access Media (PhillyCAM)–have transformed their legacy practices to better connect within and serve marginalized populations in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, PA. As traditional newsrooms have been depleted by dire financial realities, new journalism outcroppings have heeded the Knight Commission’s Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age (2009) report and, consequently, revised their approaches to community engagement. Adjacent to these reformed legacy newsrooms are community media organizations that operate a municipality’s public, educational, or government (PEG) access media production facilities. Although PEG access media’s legacy has no clear genealogical ties with traditional journalism, an increasing amount of PEG operations over the past ten years have started to intentionally test editorialized forms of community news reporting. The data collected and assessed in this study has indicated that news organizations like PublicSource have an explicit need to do more relational community engagement work that will enable it to fill hyperlocal information gaps and better serve marginalized populations. Community media organizations like PhillyCAM have extensive experience engaging diverse publics; however, as this study reveals, they could benefit from employing formalized news production methods that are guided by journalistic standards.