By Al Cross, Director and Professor, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
It’s a stressful time for our country, and especially for journalism. At the Institute, we think our best path forward is what we have always stood for: quality journalism, paid for by news outlets with a commitment to public service.
That is often difficult in rural journalism, but there are many good examples of success, and we’d like to share them with you – and start a discussion about how we can play a larger role in the sustainability of journalism.
Readers of The Rural Blog are invited to register for a Zoom webinar, “Success Stories in Rural Journalism,” to be held at 11 a.m. ET Thursday, July 30. It’ll run about an hour. Our panelists will be:
- John Gregg, news editor of The Valley News in Lebanon, N.H., which far out-performed its sister papers in raising philanthropic money from its readers to make sure its quality journalism can continue.
- Laurie Brown of The Canadian Record in the Texas Panhandle, one of America’s greatest rural newspapers, whose quality work is recognized and rewarded by her readers, most of whom don’t agree with her philosophically;
- John Nelson, a former weekly and daily editor who is now executive editor of Landmark Community Newspapers, a 10-state group that puts a premium on the autonomy of local editors, managers and publishers, while expecting them to serve their communities;
- Jennifer P. Brown of The Hoptown Chronicle, a digital startup in Hopkinsville, Ky., where she was editor of the Kentucky New Era, a formerly independent daily that is now part of a chain. She’s the programming co-chair of the Institute’s national advisory board.
Laurie is a member of the Ezzell family that won our Tom and Pat Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism, and Jennifer Brown and John Nelson and are winners of the Al Smith Award, which the Institute and the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists give to Kentuckians who render great public service through community journalism. We know they and John Gregg will offer much insight and inspiration, and we hope you will join us for a useful discussion.