Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Bass, Abraham Z.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Journalism


Community newspapers--Illinois--Downer's Grove; Newspapers--Local editions


The purpose of the case study was to determine how three newspapers with different conceptions of the community serve one politically defined suburban village. This study was also designed to learn about the perceptions of the political leaders and other community authorities toward the newspapers. Downers Grove, a middle-class suburb of Chicago, was selected as the research site. The village's population of 44,418 is served by the newspapers studied. The Downers Grove Reporter is a weekly paper that concentrates solely on Downers Grove. The Suburban Life Graphic, a semi-weekly regional paper, covers 10 suburbs in eastern DuPage County. The Suburban Trib, distributed with the Chicago Tribune, is a daily regional paper that serves 21 communities in southern DuPage County. The methodology used for the study was interviewing. Publishers, editors, other newspaper personnel and news agency managers were asked open-ended questions about the newspapers' histories and current statuses. Attention was focused on each paper's advertising, competition, circulation, and the social roles of the press. Downers Grove political leaders and other authorities were asked open-ended questions about their perceptions of the three newspapers. The observation style study has shown that the newspapers' local or regional approaches affect how the papers fulfill the social roles of the press. The Downers Grove Reporter, considered the hometown paper, was more suited to performing the belonging, leadership, public forum and entertainment functions of the press. However, the regional approach of the Suburban Trib, which is not a free-standing publication, was more appropriate for fulfilling the watchdog role. Another observation is that interaction exists between the suburb's political leaders and the publisher of the Downers Grove Reporter but not among the leaders and the publishers and editors of the regional papers. The strictly local paper is regarded as an integral part of the suburb and an ally in communicating with Downers Grove residents. The interaction appears to be an indication of community cohesion.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


v, 159 pages




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