Rachel Howells

Research student, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies


Developing a new business model for local news provision and addressing the democratic deficit in the digital economy

In 2009, the weekly newspaper of the Welsh town of Port Talbot was closed following a steep decline in circulation. This research examines how - and whether - the loss of a local newspaper affects democracy and civic engagement in a community.

It will look at the history of news in the town, compare it with the current news provision in other media and explore alternative business models for funding local news. Rachel is also a working journalist and director of a hyperlocal news service in Port Talbot, giving her a grandstand view of developments in a local news market where the weekly newspaper has closed.

The research is funded by the Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarship (KESS), an EU fund distributed by the Welsh Assembly Government.