Philadelphia’s news media system: which audiences are underserved?
This study builds a multi-dimensional framework for assessing local media systems to identify potential gaps in news provision, especially among socioeconomically marginalized communities. We gather data on income, education, and age of audiences and coverage areas for 38 news outlets in Philadelphia and conduct a content analysis to gauge how these outlets meet critical information needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings indicate that multiple dimensions of Philadelphia’s news media system—audience size and socioeconomics, staffing levels, forms of ownership, and platform effects—work together to underserve communities with lower levels of income and education and that this structural gap generates a measurable gap in the provision of news content meeting the critical information needs of these communities. Policy interventions such as public funding and subsidies can enhance the capacity for Philadelphia news organizations to meet the critical information needs of marginalized communities.
CitationJournal of Communication, Volume 72, Issue 4, August 2022, Pages 476–487
Author affiliationSchool of Media, Communication and Sociology,
- VoR (Version of Record)