Facebook wins when local newspapers fail, says report

Jun 29, 2022 at 09:26 pm by admin

When local newspapers fail to invest in local journalism, Facebook wins, a new study has found.

A report by the UK’s Charitable Journalism Project discovered that people trusted local Facebook groups more than their local newspaper when the latter was not investing in local journalism.

INMA’s newsroom initiative lead Peter Bale writes this week that the research – publication of which coincided with the release of the Reuters Institute report – “rather turned on its head the narrative many in local media would pitch: that they are more trustworthy than social media. 

“It seems that as local newspapers cut back on offices and truly local reporting, readers are finding their news from groups on Facebook,” he writes.

An example quoted by The Guardian was in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, a town with 44,000 residents, more than 30,000 of which are in a single Facebook group.

The Charitable Journalism Project is funded by Luminate, part of the philanthropic work of Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar and British social justice donor the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, and is promoting not-for-profit news organisations in the UK, especially where for-profit newspapers have shrunk drastically.

“The catastrophic financial collapse of the local news industry over the last two decades has destroyed the business model of local newspapers,” the CJP report says. “Although consumers sometimes described these Facebook groups using terms such as ‘toxic’ and ‘racist,’ many said they provided more up-to-the-minute information than their local newspaper.”

Sections: Digital business


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