Media and Uncertainty| Local Journalism in the Age of Uncertainty: The Case of Youngstown, Ohio’s The Vindicator
The closure of thousands of newspapers in the last 15 years has evoked uncertainty for journalists and other media professionals about their professional identities, community roles, and the future of local journalism. Through an ethnographic case study of local media professionals in one U.S. community, Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, Ohio, this study explores their response to the closure of their only daily newspaper. Informed by uncertainty management and community ties theories, the study provides an in-depth understanding of how media professionals navigated the uncertainty caused by the changing media landscape and the meaning they attach to those changes. Analysis of 10 personal semistructured qualitative interviews and additional observations reveals the following themes: loss and grief, community needs and identity, watchdogging and accountability, opportunity and differentiation, resilience and adaptability, and sustainability. These findings highlight both the importance of community ties in navigating the uncertainty resulting from changing media use and the need for ongoing monitoring to ensure the future of local news coverage.