Local North Carolina News Organizations: How Are They Asking For Financial Support?

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Kinsey Faith White (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Volha Kananovich

Abstract: Local journalism is essential for keeping communities informed and civically and politically engaged. Unfortunately, local newsrooms are struggling financially and must seek the funding necessary for survival from their readers. Effective propositional messaging is crucial for this to be successful, which makes it important to explore the ways that local newspapers ask for financial support. Informed by journalism studies scholarship and persuasion research, the present study analyzed the persuasive messaging of 50 local newspapers within North Carolina. These local newspapers were obtained through the US News Desert website; a database developed by The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and media (US News Deserts, 2021). Variables which were used to observe 50 of these newspapers’ propositional messages include informational and social appeals, the ask for “donations” or “subscriptions,” norms and values noted, using “local” or “community” as a descriptor, framing locality as either as asset or liability, whether or not financial struggles were mentioned, and the use of scarcity or reciprocity as appeals. The findings showed that newspapers tend to ask for subscriptions rather than donations, emphasize their role in informing the community, but often fail to mention how much they must rely on citizens’ support. This study can serve as a foundation for further research, on a national level, which can help local newsrooms determine what type of messaging is most effective. Using knowledge from this study, as well as future studies, local organizations will hopefully be able to better frame propositions in order to bring in the level of financial support required for long-term sustainability.

Additional Information

Honors Project
White, K. (2022). Local North Carolina News Organizations: How Are They Asking For Financial Support? Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2022
local journalism, newspaper, content analysis, news deserts, subscription, donation, appeals, North Carolina, support

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