Development and Urbanization
In this ‘era of urbanization,’ a primary difficulty in capturing rural phenomenon is identifying a stable, systematic and multi-dimensional source of information and view of a rural place. This paper proposes local media—print media in particular—as that window on rural society. Local print media is generally stable: while most media are subject to constantly changing dynamics of demand and market, rural print media enjoys a relatively stable business model. Local print media is generally systematic: in a setting where media options are limited by virtue of the small scale, print media is generally systematic in its treatment of issues, reflecting the spectrum presented at the national level. Local print media is generally multi-dimensional, in that the local print media must accommodate national news while also focusing on local news. Thus, while local newspapers generally offer a national (and sometimes international view) of a particular topic, the focus shifts to the implications and significance of the topic, and the implications and significance of national policy on that topic, for the locale. Moreover, the local newspaper must also account for truly ‘local news.’ It is in this stability, systematicity, and multi-dimensionality that a ‘theory of local journalism and the local newspaper’ can be developed. This panel paper will present a rural Japan case study that develops the theorization of rural journalism in Asia as a means of theorizing rural Asia in an era of urbanization.