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Engaging Stigmatized Communities Through Solutions Journalism

Mon, May 29, 15:30 to 16:45, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, Floor: 3, Aqua Salon C

Abstract

In many communities across the United States, substantive local news is a rare commodity. For areas long stigmatized and associated with high levels of violence, crime, and poverty, negative news may be the only local news available. Drawing from communication infrastructure theory and literature on local news audiences and civic journalism, this study explores how a local solutions journalism project is received by members of an underrepresented and stigmatized community. Solutions journalism stories focus on responses to social problems, usually exploring problem-solving efforts that have the potential to be scaled. This case examines a community-based media project in South Los Angeles which was followed by six focus groups with 48 African American and Latino residents examining how participants responded to coverage. Study findings illustrate how residents navigate and critically interpret local media coverage, and how their response to ‘solutions journalism’ is largely positive but tempered by concerns regarding structural inequalities.

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