A new symbiosis? Opportunities and challenges to hyperlocal journalism in the digital age

Andrea Carson, Denis Muller, Jennifer Martin, Margaret Simons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This article draws on ‘hyperlocal’ journalism scholarship to explore the civic functions of Australian local reporting in the digital age. Through place-based case studies based on interviews with media and civic leaders from three disparate communities, we find community groups are engaging with social media, particularly Facebook, to connect locals to services and community news. Community service providers are increasingly adept at using social media and, in many cases, prefer it to legacy media to gather, disseminate and exchange news. Concurrently, legacy media have lost newsroom resources that limit their practice of ‘shoe leather’ journalism and increase their dependence on official sources without independent verification. Yet, journalists are adapting to newsroom cutbacks by forming symbiotic relationships with non-media news providers, including local police. We find there are promising alternatives for fostering civic discourse and engagement through digital technologies despite less traditional local news and a reduced capacity for verified journalism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-146
Number of pages15
JournalMedia International Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Australian local journalism
  • civic function
  • communicative social capital
  • community engagement
  • hyperlocal journalism
  • local news
  • public sphere
  • social media

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