This paper begins by problematizing the use of “community” to define and theorize small commercial media outlets that have geography as their primary characteristic—particularly hyper local and small traditional newspapers connected to larger media organizations in digital space. We then extend the concept of “geo-social news” to outline “geo-social journalism” as a specific form of news work currently grouped under the “community media” umbrella. Geo-social is a concept for exploring how small commercial newspapers change as media technologies evolve. It offers a framework for understanding how these news outlets and audiences connect via the notion of “sense of place”. It can also be used as a lens for theorizing their role in social flows and movements and as nodes in the global media network. The practice of “geo-social journalism”, meanwhile, has two dimensions. Firstly, journalists must engage with the land (environment/agriculture/industry), populations, histories and cultures of the places they report news. Secondly, it involves connections and understandings of the shifting constellations of global and national systems, issues and relationships of the digital era. Finally, this paper argues that by its very nature, “geo-social journalism” eschews theoretical universalizing and instead demands fine-grained analyses of the specific dynamic of each “geo-social” publication, its setting and the practices which shape it and it in turn shapes.
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