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Local democracy and the media : Can hyperlocals fill the gap?

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Author list: Jangdal, Lottie
Publication year: 2019
Start page: 69
End page: 83
Number of pages: 15
ISSN: 1403-1108
View additional information: View in Web of Science™

Abstract
Local news media in Western countries are undergoing major changes, including cutbacks, centralisation and consolidation. In this study, Sweden has been scanned to map the pres- ence of digital hyperlocal media and to investigate which online channels of communication they offer their readers, in order to determine their set-up for democratic functions. The results reveal that very few hyperlocals are positioned in rural areas; instead, the major- ity of them favour metropolitan or urban municipalities. The hyperlocal media presence on social networks is limited to a few platforms, and about half of the hyperlocals offer commentary fields on their news sites. As the democratic structure varies, coupled with the fact that hyperlocals favour high-density population municipalities where traditional media already exist, this study indicates that the democracy dialogue in the local public sphere may be at risk.


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