Research plan

The goal of the study is to explore the boundaries between local media and communication from the point of view of editors, reporters, content and future. The research project produces new empirical information and theoretical understanding on how communication and journalism operate on the same field with different ethical codes in the early 2020s Finland.

The main research question is “What are the ethical principles and practices according to which local information is being produced and shared, and what does it mean for the future of local journalism and community?”

The main research question is divided into three sub-questions:

  • What are the ethical principles that guide the production and dissemination of local information by the local media and local communication actors? 
  • How and why do new local communication actors do take advantage of the forms and practices of journalism? 
  • What kind of future the local actors predict and create for journalism?

We approach the principles and practices of journalism and communication from two perspectives: content and the self-understanding of actors. When studying the ethical principles of local journalism and communication, we use the traditional ideals of journalism as the point of reference: A relation to the public defined by the principles of public service, autonomy and ethical practice (Deuze 2005). A central question is what kind of new emphases, variations or content these principles have gained or will gain and what kind of ethical contradictions might occur.

The research objects are local media and communication in a wide sense. The study is not limited to one area, publisher nor to any specific form of media or communication. Instead, diverse forms of local media and communication will be assessed. The focus will be in forerunners and their networks. Forerunners, in collaboration with their network, develop new experimental practices and new ideas, and, due to this creative nature, they often have clearer perceptions and visions of the future of their field.


Deuze, M. (2005). What is journalism? Professional identity and ideology of journalists reconsidered. Journalism, 6(4), 442–464.