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The Changing Local Media Landscapes of Rural and Urban Communities

How have changes to the ownership and management of local media outlets in rural and urban Illinois communities in recent years influenced their roles within those communities and their relationships with residents?

What do residents of rural and urban Illinois communities need and expect from local media outlets, and how are those needs and expectations evolving?  How are local media outlets evolving accordingly?

The Country and the City: Common Ground in the Prairie State? logo

Over the past three decades, large media companies based in other states have purchased many formerly locally owned newspapers and radio stations serving small towns and rural regions throughout Illinois. Media consolidation has affected urban Illinois communities significantly, as well. Partly in reaction to those trends, independently owned, “hyperlocal” media outlets have arisen in various rural and urban communities in recent years. All of these developments have substantially changed the ways in which many local media entities are situated within their communities and altered their relationships with the residents and the cultures of their coverage areas. Panelists representing several rural and urban Illinois communities will discuss the ongoing evolution of local media landscapes.

The panelists will draw upon their own experiences as well as brief excerpts from one or more articles or essays. Members of the audience will have opportunities to participate in the conversation, as well.

(The urban counterpart to this event, which will address coverage of urban and rural communities by regional and national media outlets and how positive momentum can be sustained, will have taken place at the Shilling Environmental Education Center at Scovill Zoo in Decatur on Tuesday, April 30.)

Doors open and refreshments available: 5:30 PM