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Project Name:
Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues Initiative

Principal Investigators:
Ron Eller (History) and Roy L. Moore (Journalism)

Funding Agencies:
Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Foundation ($25,000) and the Appalachian Regional Commission ($30,000)

Funding Duration:
07/01/02 - 02/01/03

Description of Research:
The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is a multi-disciplinary consortium dedicated to strengthening and invigorating local newspapers, broadcasting stations, and other mass media instruments in central Appalachia. It focuses on the role of the media in community infrastructure, stimulates reporting of local and regional social and economic issues, and seeks to energize public discourse. The Institute organizes collaborative research, fosters professional growth, and promotes career development. It emphasizes the regional character of major social and economic issues and demonstrates the importance of vigorous news organizations in the challenging circumstances of rural Appalachia. To this end, it maintains a database of media ownership, circulation, staff retention and professional training. Headquartered at the University of Kentucky, the Institute and its college
and university partners monitor local and regional news coverage and organizes collaborative projects to examine regional issues. Together, they create settings for professional exchanges between journalists across the region and provide leadership and resources to encourage investigative and explanatory journalism. Through awards, fellowships, and public recognition, the Institute stimulates initiative and original reporting, particularly in the areas of government, politics, education, social welfare, natural resources, and the economy.

The initiative has held four exploratory conferences in four states so far and is conducting two conferences later this year, including one jointly sponsored by UK and Eastern Kentucky University. At each of the conferences, professional journalists met with members of citizen groups and the steering committee headed by journalist Al Smith (host of KET’s “Comment of Kentucky”) to discuss how the initiative could promote rural journalism. Each conference focused on a specific topic related to journalism.

 

 


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