Asia Pacific Media Educator


The notion of “community” is a contested one, but one which is widely used across a range of fields and applications. For example, understandings of community in a country such as Singapore differ significantly from interpretations of community in a country such as Australia. In Singapore, notions of community are strongly influenced by language and cultural background, while in Australia, geography and distance are often key factors. Journalists’ relationships with the communities for whom and about whom they write are complicated by this imprecision and by the range of contexts and environments to which the term can be applied. However, while social, cultural and political differences between countries and media systems make it difficult to generalise about media-audience relationships, there may be areas of intersection. For example, there is a strong focus on community-based news in both Singaporean newspapers and Australian regional newspapers, as well as on community advocacy, community-building and positive reinforcement of community values. This paper argues that this represents a strengthening of the notion of the “local” in the face of widespread globalisation. The reclaiming of the local has implications for the future direction of journalism and the structures within which journalism is practised.