Community Journalism Case Study

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Community Journalism and Civic Engagement in Egypt
The Case Study of Sahafet Welad El Balad project

The use of news media has often been associated with civic engagement as the principal means by which citizens stay informed about their local governments.
Many studies link local media with the participation and empowerment of citizens in their communities.
Through news, citizens acquire information about issues and problems in their community and learn of opportunities and ways to participate. In this sense, civic engagement acts as a basic tenet of democracy.
While Egypt has a heritage of local community press, genuine professional endeavours were nearly non-existent till recently.
Also, production of newspapers in Egypt
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There is no previous study that assessed the performance of local journalism. The research explores the development of independent local and hyper local media outlets outside Cairo after the 2011 Revolution and the impact of the government’s media policies on community journalism in Egypt. The research, thus, can offer useful insights to policy makers to address the drawbacks of such media policies.
The main research question in this research is:
Q1- To which extent does community journalism affect civic engagement at the governorates’ level in Egypt?
In this paper the researcher will examine a case study, Sahafet Welad El-Balad project, as a genuine attempt towards community journalism in Egypt.
There are a number of reasons behind the selection of Sahafet Welad El-Balad project:
1- It is the only network of local newspapers in Egypt.
2- Its publications are influential actors on the local level
 with examples of public responsiveness.
3- It employs professional, full time local journalists rather than citizen journalists.
4- It offers regular training to its own journalists to develop their
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Community journalists care about the town’s “successes and tragedies and rewards and problems and even its wonderfully plain, ordinary, everyday life” (Waddle, 2003). Community newspapers also provide an “affirmation of the sense of community,” a reader’s desire that bigger papers cannot fulfill (Lauterer, 2000) – in addition to the local news that other newspapers and other media do not cover. Small-town newspapers are often the only source for local news; and this is the news that weekly newspaper readers care about (Anderson,
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