Date of Graduation

7-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Journalism (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Journalism

Advisor

Larry Foley

Committee Member

Tiffany King

Second Committee Member

Joshua Lee Mitchell

Keywords

Arkansas, Broadcast Television, City Government, Local News, Media Strategy, TV News

Abstract

The rise in suburban development has caused many downtowns across the United States to lose residents, businesses, attractions and community engagement. City officials and planners work to create policies, designs and urban development that help to revitalize downtowns. However, how do we bring people into our downtowns to live, work and play? That is where local news coverage can have an impact. The question arises: What can city officials, event organizers, business leaders do to foster a vibrant downtown? News outlets (e.g., television, print, digital) and their corresponding social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, can act as " megaphones " to share updates, stories, promote public events and disseminate information.

With qualitative research that includes in-depth interviews with city officials, nonprofit leaders, business owners, residents and former journalists, we discover how city stakeholders in Rogers, Arkansas, use local television news outlets and their digital platforms to promote and showcase a thriving, yet changing downtown. This project seeks to give insight into how cities can use news reporters and local media outlets to shape their image by looking through the lens of the revitalization efforts in downtown Rogers, Arkansas. Through these in-person interviews and past research, we find a unique public/private partnership and strategy that should include local news coverage and digital media as a critical component, to encourage people to “ live the local.”

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