Academics seek lessons from past to safeguard future of the regional press

Academics are calling for submissions exploring the history of the regional press “in an effort to extrapolate lessons for the future” that could help save the industry from decline.

A free conference will be held exploring the issue on 8 September, organised by journalism lecturers Dr Rachel Matthews, of Coventry University, and Dr Guy Hodgson, of Liverpool John Moores University.

The local and regional press is going through a tough time as circulations dwindle, print costs rise and advertising revenue is taken by internet giants Facebook and Google.

A recent report on the state of the local media industry, commissioned by the National Union of Journalists, stated that more than 400 local journalism jobs had been lost in the UK over a period of 17 months.

The two media historians are calling for academic papers to be submitted on the theme of the regional and local press by 1 June. These will then be discussed at the conference.

Example topics include:

  • The future of the local press and local newspaper businesses
  • Newspapers and regional identity
  • The role of local newspapers in their communities
  • Political and judicial accountability
  • Economic models
  • Trans-regional collaboration
  • Media as political and social discourse
  • Advertising
  • Production and reception histories

A website announcing the event said: “[The conference is being organised] at a time when newsprint journalism has moved from the intensive care ward and obituaries are being pondered and some written.

“Yet local and regional journalism has been challenged before and emerged altered, if not unscathed.

“This event will bring industry representatives and academics together to take a retrospective look at the current conundrum faced by the regional local newspaper industry in an effort to extrapolate lessons for the future.

“We welcome paper proposals from all eras and nationalities, shedding new light on longstanding or recent media historical topics.”

The conference, to be held in Redmonds Building, Brownlow Hill, Liverpool, is expected to last for about 90 minutes (including 30 minutes of questions and discussion).

“Suitable papers” are expected to be considered for development into chapters for an edited volume on the subject for Routledge.

Admissions should be sent to r.matthews@coventry.ac.uk and must include an abstract of no more than 300 words, a cover sheet with a brief biographical note and the writer’s institutional affiliation.

If accepted, writers will be notified by 15 June.

Find out more.

Picture: Pixabay

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