The public needs to be aware of conflict in order to participate effectively in a democracy. The demise of local news has threatened the normative role of journalism in this process. With traditional news organizations struggling, non-profit sites have set out to fill the void. Whether or not they can indeed function as substitutes, however, has largely been unexplored. This case-oriented study examines how frequently stories about local government conflict appeared in the coverage of 10 for-profit and non-profit sites in metropolitan areas, and what factors predicted such coverage. A structural equation model was used to test the direct and indirect effects of organization-level and reporter-level variables. Results indicate non-profit news sites are more likely to cover government conflict, and that this difference is caused by variables inherent to the organizations.
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