This publication adds to a growing body of scholarly work currently being undertaken in the subfield of journalism and mass communication studies known as community media or alternative media. At first glance, the book appears to present a largely American perspective in its coverage of community journalism, but further reading assures one that the editors have fostered an approach that has universal relevance. The term community journalism is broadly defined as ‘journalism at the community level’. While the origins of community journalism in the United States is strongly linked to small-town newspapers, the practice has expanded in the 21st century as the notion of community itself has evolved from its link to geographical ties towards the emergence of global communities linked by ethnicity, religion, culture and interests. This deterritorialisation of community newspapers is demonstrated in the Pacific through the work of Tongan-born publisher Kalafi Moala, who prints weekly editions of Taimi ‘o Tonga for distribution to diaspora Tongan communities in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. With the changing conception of community journalism, it has become necessary to study this subfield within broader theoretical approaches, as the editors of this volume reflect in the book’s preface, ‘to prepare the next generation of scholars for a media environment in which community journalism no longer operates in the shadow of “big J” journalism.’ At the end of each chapter the volume includes reflective contributions from scholars and practitioners who bring valuable insights towards enabling a greater theoretical understanding of the field.
Review: Journalism at the community media level
Harris, U. S. (2012). Journalism at the community media level. Pacific Journalism Review, 18(2): 206-208. Review of: Foundations of Community Journalism, edited by Bill Reader and John A. Hatcher. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, 2012, 283 pp. ISBN: 9781412974660 (pbk)
Author(s): Usha Sundar Harris