Dave Harte

'Tell it like it is': The role of community not-for-profit media in regeneration and reputational change

Castle Vale is an edge-of-city, 1960s-built, housing estate in Birmingham that has historically suffered from a poor reputation for crime and social problems. A regeneration initiative in the 1990s sought to address this and community media (consisting of a radio station, newspaper and news website) were funded on a not-for-profit basis to help improve the estate's reputation. Whilst much research has focused on the civic value of this type of 'hyperlocal' media, the outputs of the media in Castle Vale have been contested by citizens. This case study, which draws on interviews and workshops undertaken with media practitioners and citizens, reveals the ways in which assumptions about the democratising functions of such media come up against the tensions over representation that exist between readers and producers. The research here forms part of a UK Research Council funded project into the role of local community media as an aspect of 'Creative Citizenship'

Keywords: community, hyperlocal, media, news, regeneration


  1. Atton, Chris (2002) Alternative media, London, Sage
  2. Baines, David (2010) Hyper-local: Glocalised rural news, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 30, Nos 9/10 pp 581-592
  3. Barnett, Steven and Townend, Judith (2015) Plurality, policy and the local, Journalism Practice, Vol. 9, No. 3 pp 332-349
  4. Borger, Merel, van Hoof, Anita, Costera Meijer, Irene and Sanders, Josť (2012) Constructing participatory journalism as a scholarly object, Digital Journalism, Vol. 1, No. 1 pp 117-134
  5. Bruns, Axel (2008) Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and beyond: From production to produsage. New York, Peter Lang
  6. Bruns, Axel, Wilson, Jason A. and Saunders, Barry J. (2008) Building spaces for hyperlocal citizen journalism, Proceedings of Association of Internet Researchers 2008: Internet Research 9.0: Rethinking community, rethinking place, Copenhagen, Denmark
  7. Carnegie UK Trust (2014) The future's bright: The future's local, Dunfermline, Carnegie UK Trust
  8. Castells, Manuel (2012) Networks of outrage and hope: Social movements in the internet age, Cambridge, Polity
  9. Castle Vale Community Radio (2004) Community radio licence application form, London, Ofcom
  10. Castle Vale Housing Action Trust (1995) Castle Vale Master Plan, Birmingham, Castle Vale Housing Action Trust
  11. Coatham, Veronica and Martinali, Lisa (2010) The role of community-based organisations in sustaining community regeneration: An evaluation of the development and contribution of Castle Vale Community Regeneration Services (CVCRS), International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol 30, Nos 1/2 pp 84-101
  12. Costera Meijer, Irene (2012) When news hurts: The promise of participatory storytelling for urban problem neighbourhoods, Journalism Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1 pp 13-28
  13. Evans, Richard and Long, Derek (2000) Policy review: Estate-based regeneration in England: Lessons from housing action trusts, Housing Studies, Vol. 15, No. 2 pp 301-317
  14. Foucault, Michel (1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings, 1972-1977, Brighton, Harvester Press
  15. Greenslade, Roy (2007) The peoples' papers? A new view of hyperlocal media, Guardian. Available online at http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/greenslade/2007/jul/12/thepeoplespapersanewview, accessed on 26 March 2013
  16. Harcup, Tony (2011) Alternative journalism as active citizenship. Journalism, Vol. 12, No. 1 pp 15-31
  17. Harcup, Tony (2015a) Alternative journalism as monitorial citizenship?: A case study of a local news blog, Digital Journalism, 'Online first' pp 1-19
  18. Harcup, Tony (2015b) Asking the readers: Audience research into alternative journalism, Journalism Practice, 'Online first' pp 1-17
  19. Hess, Kristy (2012) Breaking boundaries. Digital Journalism, Vol. 1, No. 1 pp 48-63
  20. Hess, Kristy and Waller, Lisa (2015) Hip to be hyper, Digital Journalism, 'Online first' pp 1-18
  21. Kurpius, David D., Metzgar, Emily T. and Rowley, Karen M. (2010) Sustaining hyperlocal media, Journalism Studies, Vol. 11, No. 3 pp 359-376
  22. Lewis, Justin (2006) News and the empowerment of citizens, European Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3 pp 303-319
  23. Madanipour, Ali (2005) Value of place: Can physical capital be a driver for urban change? The experience of Castle Vale, Birmingham, Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (ed.) Physical capital: How great places boost public value, London, CABE pp 48-70
  24. Matthews, Peter (2014) Neighbourhood belonging, social class and social media: Providing ladders to the cloud, Housing Studies, Vol. 30, No. 1 pp 22-39
  25. Metzgar, Emily T., Kurpius, David D. and Rowley, Karen M. (2011) Defining hyperlocal media: Proposing a framework for discussion, New Media & Society, Vol. 13, No. 5 pp 772-787
  26. Mornement, Adam (2005) No longer notorious: The revival of Castle Vale, 1993-2005, Birmingham, Castle Vale Housing Action Trust
  27. Mouffe, Chantal (ed.) (1992) Dimensions of radical democracy: Pluralism, citizenship, community, London, Verso
  28. Ofcom (2012) The communications market report, London, Ofcom
  29. Parker, David and Karner, Christian (2011) Remembering the Alum Rock Road: Reputational geographies and spatial biographies, Midland History, Vol. 36, No. 2 pp 292-309
  30. Postill, John (2008) Localizing the internet beyond communities and networks, New Media & Society, Vol. 10, No. 3 pp 413-431
  31. Radcliffe, Damian (2012) Here and now: UK hyperlocal media today, London, Nesta
  32. Schudson, Michael (1999) What public journalism knows about journalism but doesn't know about 'public', Glasser, T. L. (ed.) The idea of public journalism, London, Guilford Press pp 118-133
  33. Talk About Local (2011) FAQ: What is Talk About Local? Available online at http://talkaboutlocal.org.uk/faq/, accessed on 2 December 2015
  34. Williams, Andy, Harte, Dave and Turner, Jerome (2015) The value of UK hyperlocal community news, Digital Journalism, Vol. 3, No. 5 pp 680-703

Note on the contributor

Dave Harte is a senior lecturer in media and communication at Birmingham City University. He has been researching hyperlocal media in the UK since 2012 and has published widely on the subject. He is co-author of a book on hyperlocal journalism due for publication with Routledge in late 2017. He runs a news website for the Bournville area of Birmingham where he lives and has worked in higher education since the late 1990s in a range of teaching, policy and business engagement roles.