Impulses for sustainable Swiss local media organization recommendations, best practices, and examples from Switzerland and abroad

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These recommendations are aimed at the Swiss local media and should help them to develop innovatively and sustainably in a changing environment. These recommendations as well as those for the local administrative administration, the municipalities, can be found on our website.

Methodology

Findings and recommendations originate from the Swiss National Science Foundation-funded project “Local journalism and municipal communication in the digital transformation”. This project is interdisciplinary, international (Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Italy and France) and uses a combination of methods. For the recommendations for local media presented here, an online survey (2021/2022, N=473) was first conducted. Twelve Swiss local media were then selected for an in-depth study. A one-day on-site observation (2023) was carried out in eleven of the twelve local media. In addition, a guided interview was conducted with all selected local media. The guided interviews were transcribed, translated into German and coded and analysed in MAXQDA together with the field notes from the observations. The project partners from Germany, Austria, Italy and France also conducted guided interviews with selected local media from each country and submitted one report per country. These recommendations were then compiled on the basis of the coding of all the research material and the reports from abroad.

 

As of June 2024

 

If you have any feedback on the recommendations, please email us at lokalkommunikation@fhgr.ch
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Why should local media continue to exist?

All of the recommendations formulated here should help to ensure that local media can continue to exist in the future and in the long term. As the fourth estate, the media are fundamental to a functioning democracy. Research, particularly from the US, shows how damaging news deserts (regions without local media coverage) are for the local population. For example, corruption increases (Matherly/Greenwood 2021), political participation decreases (Hayes/Lawless 2017) and local people feel less part of society (Magasic/Hess 2021). More information on the local media as a fourth estate in danger can be found in the article – in German or French – written by members of the research project for Die Volkswirtschaft. Die Volkswirtschaft is an economic policy magazine published by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

Médias locaux à la peine: le quatrième pouvoir est-il menacé?

 

Bibliography

Hayes, Danny/Lawless, Jennifer L. (2017): The Decline of Local News and Its Effects: New Evidence from Longitudinal Data. In: The Journal of Politics, 80 (1), S. 332–336.

Magasic, Marco/Hess, Kristy (2021): Mining a news desert: The impact of a local newspaper’s closure on political participation and engagement in the rural Australian town of Lightning Ridge. In: Australian Journalism Review, 43 (1), S. 99–114.

Matherly, Ted/Greenwood, Brad N. (2021): No News is Bad News: Political Corruption, News Deserts, and the Decline of the Fourth Estate.

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