Multimedia Case Study, with Teaching Note
Q. Are there any case studies that focus on the challenges facing community news organizations?
Case studies enliven classroom participation and enhance learning by taking students behind the scenes and letting them make decisions, or, at a minimum, second-guess decisions made by others. Most case studies currently available focus on the business and journalistic issues confronting large news organizations, which can be quite different from those that smaller community newspapers and digital start-ups are facing.
With this in mind, Saving Community Journalism provides journalism professors with an expanded case study on the Whiteville News Reporter, a 10,000-circulation newspaper in rural North Carolina.
- At the conclusion of Chapters Four through Seven, there are mini case studies that explore how Les High, editor of the News Reporter, confronted challenges, such as leading change or revamping the sales and editorial processes. The Lesson Plans on this site provide you with examples of how to integrate these small cases studies into class discussions and assignments.
- A multimedia case, “Chasing the Community Newspaper Rainbow: the Whiteville News Reporter and the Digital Age,” is available through the Case Consortium at Columbia University. This free case study comes with an expanded teaching note and epilogue. This case study can be used in conjunction with the mini-cases in Saving Community Journalism, or separately.
There are a number of ways you can use the Whiteville News Reporter case to explore similar issues in other small and midsize news organizations. For example, the stories of a dozen community newspapers are woven throughout Saving Community Journalism and there are expanded interviews with many of the publishers and editors of those papers on this site in the Dig Deeper and Stay Up-To-Date sections.
In addition, the Columbia University site offers four other cases that focus on the attempts of smaller news organizations to adapt to changes in the news landscape. Two of them focus on digital organizations: “AllNovaScotia.com: Success or Anomaly?” (also free) and “Not for Profit: The Voice of San Diego Experiment.” The other two focus on papers in mid-sized markets: “Charting a Course for Change: Transforming the Albany Times Union in a Wired World” and “Buy It or Make It? The Charlotte Observer and the Associated Press.”