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Minodora Salcudean
Luceian Blaga University of Sibiu
Vol. 4 Núm. 15 (2021): Ciudades y comunidades sostenibles (ODS 11), Artículos de Investigación, Páginas 66-77
Recibido: 15-10-2021 Aceptado: 20-12-2021 Publicado: 17-01-2022
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This article addresses how journalists in the local press are interested in covering topics in the field of sustainable development, more precisely those connected with SDG11 - sustainable cities and communities. While the theoretical framework investigates recent studies on the general relationship between media and sustainable development, the applied part of this paper consists of empirical research aimed to distinguish this relationship, especially concerning SDG11 locally, in Sibiu, a city from central part of Romania. The research questions that formed the basis of the applied research were: Do local journalists know the 17 objectives of sustainable development on the UN 2030 Agenda? Regardless of whether they know the objectives or not, to what extent are local journalists interested in producing materials related to SDG 11 - sustainable cities and communities? How do they understand media reporting on SDGs in general and Goal 11 in particular? How do journalists define the relationship they have with local government institutions? What about NGOs in the area of ​​community development? How interested are the media consumers in topics related to the sustainable development of their community? For the applied part of this study, we resorted to a complementary methodological approach: on the one hand, we conducted a case study on a specific event, namely the media coverage of European Mobility Week, monitoring journalistic materials published in media outlets from Sibiu, between September 16-22, on the most relevant local news sites; on the other hand, we organized a focus group attended by eight professional journalists, full-time employees from the first two most-read local news sites: Tribuna (three people) and Turnul Sfatului (five people). The group interview comprised some pre-set questions, but we also included adjacent queries destined for clarification in-depth. The main advantage of the use and combination of the two research methods - case study and focus group - is to obtain quantitative and qualitative data relevant to journalistic practices in the local press with reference to a specific topic.

The most relevant conclusion of this research is that the way in which journalists from the local press relate to the objectives of sustainable development does not consider primarily the agenda of institutions, but the public interest and the specific needs of Sibiu dwellers. However, local newsrooms frequently inform about decisions and actions of local institutions, such as the City Hall or the County Council. Some of them are connected to UN Agenda 2030 and have budgets including for media trusts, which is why the press releases appear in local newspapers.