Journalistic roles at the local media: between demographic characteristics and the commitment with the community

IAMCR lyon 23


Local journalism has traditionally played an important role in the shaping of nearby communities, being emphasized its relevance for participation and politics. However, local media have been especially affected by the crisis of business model. Bearing these trends in mind, this study aims to examine the presence of journalistic roles at the local level and their relationship with sociodemographic characteristics. Specifically, we analyze the most populated and largest Spanish region (Andalusia) as a case study. First, a database of the local news media outlets in Andalusia is developed (n=214), identifying the main journalistic roles according to their mission statements. Second, we draw upon 10 in-depth interviews with newspaper editors from different organizations across the region. Finally, a multiple linear regression is conducted to determine which sociodemographic variables are related to the existence of media in the Andalusian municipalities, using the official database of the regional population. Results show the existence of differences in the conception of journalistic roles. The preference for an audience approach is noted (service and civic roles), but the fulfilment of the roles depends upon factors such as young population, distance to the regional capital or the presence of commercial activities and public institutions. Our study contributes to current discussions on the mission and state of local journalism in a changing digital era, arguing that precariousness reinforces some professional roles at community service.


Local journalism; local media; journalistic roles; news deserts; demographics.

Rubén Rivas-de-Roca
Francisco J. Caro-González
Isadora Sánchez-Torné
OCP23 + Lyon23 = IAMCR2023