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Why is rural journalism important?

Because 16 percent of Americans, some 63 million people, are rural, and so is three-fourths of the national landsdcape. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues helps non-metropolitan journalists define the public agenda for their communities, and grasp the local impact of broader issues. It interprets rural issues for metropolitan news media, conducts seminars and publishes research and good examples of rural journalism. It helps journalists all over America learn about rural issues, trends and events in areas they’ve never seen but have much in common with their own. It helps rural journalists learn how to exercise editorial leadership in small markets. At one workshop, journalists from five states learned how to cover state and federal politics without being based in the capitals. A national workshop focused on a wide range of rural issues, and the National Summit on Journalism in Rural America examined how journalism can help rural communities. Reporters in Central Appalachia saw how they can help improve the region’s health, and published stories with that goal in mind. Others learned about the coal industry and covered it more deeply than before, at a time when more miners were dying and more mountains were being mined.

The Institute is based at the University of Kentucky but is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional effort, with academic partners at Appalachian State University, East Tennessee State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgia College and State University, Indiana University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Iowa State University, Marshall University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Middle Tennessee State University, Ohio University, Penn State, Southeast Missouri State University, Texas Christian University, Virginia Tech, the University of Alaska-Anchorage, University of Illinois, University of Maine at Presque Isle, University of Mississippi, University of Missouri, the University of North Carolina, University of South Carolina, University of Tennessee, Washington and Lee University, West Virginia University, Wheeling Jesuit University, Winthrop University and the Knight Community Journalism Fellows program of the University of Alabama.

The Institute publishes The Rural Blog, a daily digest of events, issues, trends and journalism in rural America, with story ideas and sources. To read it, one of our many reports, or get more information about us, click a button above. To stay updated, join our list-serve, which gets notices of Rural Blog updates. Welcome!---Al Cross, director



Institute for Rural Journalism & Community Issues
School of Journalism and Telecommunications, College of Communications & Information Studies
122 Grehan Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington KY 40506-0042
Phone 859-257-3744 - Fax 859-323-3168

Al Cross, director al.cross@uky.edu