The research project investigates the transformation of the local public under the conditions of digitalisation and globalisation. How is discourse constituted in local, regional "communities" under the conditions of a digital network society in the area of tension between old, new and social media? How do interaction and struggle for attention function in the mix of traditional local media and (new) citizen journalism on the one hand and global platforms like Google and Facebook on the other? Internationally, since the turn of the millennium, many local legacy media companies have been in distress – or have disappeared from the market. At the same time, their democratic political indispensability was proclaimed as the bearer of important, regional basic information. We want to close a research gap and consider that it is important to analyse under which conditions local, pluralistic discourse of all those interested can develop at eye level.
In the networks of our "information age" (Castells 1996), the World Wide Web, as a central infrastructure, links societies to interests far beyond their neighborhood. Traditional local journalism is suddenly facing global competition for attention and at the same time a local audience at eye level: bloggers, citizen journalists, local initiatives are using the Internet to spread their content and do agenda setting. The submitted research project asks: How do the new framework conditions change the professional communicators, their self images and their role description? On the other hand, how about the local information and communication networks in general?