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The MeCCSA Local and Community Media Network aims to promote research into Local and Community Media in the UK. The contemporary landscape for local media, including journalism, is undergoing a period of unprecedented disruption and innovation due to the challenges and affordances of the structural changes precipitated by digital technology. This process has had a profound impact on the financial basis, and sustainability, of local and community media and journalism platforms, but also on the cultures and practices of production and consumption of local media. Local media ecosystems have seen the emergence of innovative channels, platforms and publications: but there have also been extinctions, leaving some communities in Britain (Firmstone, 2016); Scandinavia (Nygren et al 2018); and the USA (Abernathy, 2017) to be described as ‘news deserts’. Concern is such that in 2018, the UK Government set up the Cairncross Review into the Sustainability of the Media, with a specific remit to consider the local. Historically this area has been under-researched by academics, but it is now experiencing a resurgence in the wake of the disruption outlined above. The aim of the network is to draw together those scholars interrogating this landscape to raise the profile of research in this field and strengthen its future trajectory.

The network also offers the opportunity to increase collaboration between industry and academia and emerging innovators and disruptors in the field. An increasing number of academics working in the area of local and community media, including both the executive members above and suggested members below, come with a background in relevant industries. Creating a formal network would give voice to the strength of this profile and the insights and collaborations it generates by facilitating knowledge exchange. It is therefore envisaged that network events will include industry representatives and will extend into industry-owned spaces and events, such as the conferences of the Society of Editors, National Union of Journalists and Royal Television Society, and will network with existing organisations in this area, including the Community Media Association.

MeCCSA Local and Community Media Network List

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