A history of weekly community newspapers in the United States: 1900 to 1980

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University of Alabama Libraries

This study is an examination of community weekly newspapers in the United States during the period beginning in 1900 and ending in 1980. For this dissertation, the weekly "community" newspaper is defined as a newspaper operating in small towns and rural areas that placed an emphasis on local news. This study analyzes the nature of the weekly community newspaper and how it reflected American society throughout most of the twentieth century. Despite all of the problems that faced the weekly newspaper industry throughout its long and proud history, the constants that remained were survival tactics in terms of reactive versus proactive responses to content, commercial, and professional concerns. Several times throughout the decades an obituary had been written for community weeklies. But they always found a way to fight back and happen upon a means, a method, or a message that resonated with audiences and advertisers enough so as to allow them to keep their doors open for another business day. Community weeklies told the story of average American daily lives more thoroughly and in a more personal manner than the big-city dailies. In essence, the weekly publisher-editor served as author of his community's life story.

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Journalism, History, United States, Mass Communications