The stereotype of the influential small-town newspaper is enduring. People may have derided their local paper, but they read it — or rued the fact that they hadn’t. Reporting and editing for these small papers was intimate in a way that big-city journalism could never be. But many of the forces that have disrupted metro and national news organizations have decimated small-town journalism as well. Consolidation and new forms of ownership mean that key decisions about staffing may be made hundreds of miles away, by people who have no stake in the community. The implications for government accountability and effective self-governance are ominous. What new forms of journalism can emerge to counter these trends?
Held March 25, 2017 at the School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, NM
According to a 2015 study, only one in five Westerners think their local news is relevant and valuable. Rural journalists endorsed collaboration over competition to deliver news that matters to their audiences and remain viable in an ever-changing media landscape. The panel also discussed the importance of regaining communities’ trust and that journalists need to do a better job of immersing themselves in the communities they cover.
Readings on Rural Journalism
- Solutions Journalism Network: Mountain News Deserts
- Rural West Initiative: Rural Newspapers Doing Better Than Their City Counterparts (2011)