Role of Local Newspaper Media in Generating a Citizen Volunteer Consciousness

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Abstract

The present paper explores the role of the local media, in the form of a prefectural–level newspaper, in relation to local volunteer activity. The local newspaper's potential for generating social knowledge and uniting resident's consciousness about volunteerism and volunteer activity is examined, considering the influence of volunteer organization leaders on media and public volunteer–related agendas. The data presented appear to point to a role for the local newspaper in generating a positive volunteer consciousness, which is latent at present. The results suggest that while volunteer organization leadership is active in contacting the media, they appear to be less careful in establishing or policing the message they would have the media deliver. The present paper concludes by proposing that for Japanese volunteer organizations to better use the media in creating positive volunteer consciousness in their communities, they must work to establish their own media agenda and use both indirect means (through traditional media) and direct means (through direct public relations campaigns), to get that message to local residents.

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