Local News & Democracy

About the Project

PPF’s 2017 report The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age documented how a huge revenue loss was sinking Canadian journalism and the impact this was having on Canadian democracy. Since then, the diminution of journalism in Canada has continued. Innovative solutions remain few and far between. The potentially bright spot is some experimentation in business models and financing of journalism. We have also seen movement on the part of the Canadian government and others in this area.

At the start of 2018, PPF, with the support of our six partners, decided to dive deeper into the state of local and community news media. We set out to examine how, exactly, journalistic coverage of communities across Canada has changed over the past decade. The Shattered Mirror showed that journalistic outlets have changed by shrinking, merging or closing. The goal of this project is to pinpoint exactly how these changes to outlets have affected changes to outputs. More specifically, we aim to answer the question: Is there less volume and depth of coverage of local communities now than there was 10 years ago? And if so, what types of coverage and communities have been most affected?

The final report is scheduled for public release on September 25, 2018.

Methodology

PPF, in partnership with our research associate, Nordicity planned and implemented a three-month, quantitative analysis of print news reporting on civic affairs in 20 representative communities across Canada. This included statistical and content analysis of almost 815,000 news print articles based on selected key indicators.

Timeline

January to September 2018

Partners

Atkinson Foundation

Community Foundations of Canada

CWA Canada

The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation

Unifor

Vancouver Foundation

Contact

Gareth Chappell 

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