Appendix B: Search Protocol for Identifying Local Journalism Sources

Stage 1: Consult Relevant Media Directories

A number of print and online data sources are available to identify media outlets at the local level. Because research has shown that many such directories (including those offered by commercial providers or government agencies) tend to be incomplete, multiple directories were consulted for each source category. Below is a list of the directories consulted for each source category. In each case, searching by the relevant communities (Newark, Morristown, New Brunswick) was relatively straightforward.

Source Directories Employed in Data Gathering

Source Directory

Community Media Database

Association of Public Television Stations’ Station Directory

FCC Broadcast Television License Database


NPR Labs Mapping and Population System

FCC AM and FM Broadcast License Database


Library of Congress Directory of Newspapers

Editor & Publisher International Data Book


Knight Foundation’s Directory of Community News Sites

Columbia Journalism Review’s Guide to Online News Startups

New Jersey News Commons’ Directory of Partners

Online Newspaper Directory for the World’s New Jersey blog directory

Multiplatform National Directory of Ethnic Media

Stage 2: Supplement Directory Data with Manual Search

In order to supplement the data gathered from the directories described above, the second stage of data gathering involved a manual search for relevant journalistic sources. Following the approach employed by Ramos, et al. (2013), this process involved keyword searches via search engine and then visiting those sites produced by the search queries to identify links to other relevant sources. Further, those sites that were linked to by the original site were subsequently examined to determine whether they contained links to any additional relevant sites. Keyword searches employed the name of the town, county, and region, along with associated media terms such as “news,” “blog,” “radio,” “television.” In addition, in instances in which a community is known by a particular nickname (e.g., “Brick City” for Newark), that terminology was employed in the search process as well.

Stage 3: Targeted Interviews with Community Members

In order to identify additional potential sources not identified by Stages 1 and 2, a final step involved integrating an approach employed by the New America Foundation case studies (see, e.g., Morgan, 2011), in which a limited number of targeted interviews were conducted with community members in positions to be well-informed about the journalistic sources serving the local community. Specifically, 3-5 interviews were conducted with individuals in the following categories: 1) local government; 2) local news media; 3) activist organizations; 4) ethnic community organizations. The Stage 3 interviews are meant to act as a confirmation of Stages 1 and 2 and to catch any local outlets that may not have been detected.