October 15, 2002

Dear Participant:

You are invited to participate in a seminar on public perceptions of the role of the mass media in rural Appalachia that will be held on Friday, November 8, at the Perkins Conference Center at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., including lunch. There is no cost for the seminar, and lunch will be provided.

The meeting is sponsored by the organizing committee for the proposed Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and will bring together a selected group of print and broadcast journalists from the area and community leaders to discuss media coverage of public issues in rural Appalachia.

The organizing committee is assisted by the Wendell H. Ford Research Center and Public Policy Archives at the University of Kentucky. This seminar is one of several sessions organized and funded with research grants from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Appalachian Regional Commission. The grants were obtained by University of Kentucky President Lee Todd to gather data on news organizations serving central Appalachia and to solicit perspectives on issues and the quality of coverage of them from journalists in the field, academics, and citizens. The meeting is sponsored by Eastern Kentucky University, the University of Kentucky and the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The information and insights will be used in a report and proposal to the Ford Foundation to establish a permanent Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. The Institute would be part of a university consortium working to help rural and community news organizations address regional issues more effectively.

You, or possibly someone you might recommend in your place, are being invited to the seminar. The purpose of this session will be to begin a dialogue between citizens and members of the news media on coverage of public issues in rural Appalachia.

Our facilitator will be Dr. Lori Garkovich, professor of rural sociology in the Department of Community and Leadership Development at the University of Kentucky. Our keynote speaker will be Ferrel Guillory, director of the Program on Southern Politics, Media and Public Life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which recently released a widely publicized report on the economic gap between rural and urban areas in the South.

Members of the organizing committee fear that the rural United States is being left behind. How can intellectual resources at state universities and colleges be focused to help smaller media organizations better inform the grassroots communities on the problems vital to their growth or, indeed, their survival? The Institute we propose would work on these questions as a facilitator for more in-depth reporting, the kind conscientious reporters have always wanted to do; in giving this help, we would hope most of all to benefit the citizens at the grassroots. Appalachia is the focus, but we see that many of the region’s problems confront all of rural America. What we learn in this research may be helpful to other parts of the country.

We hope that you will be able to join us in Richmond, Kentucky, on November 8. There is no fee for the sessions and lunch will be provided. It would be much appreciated if you would confirm your attendance by calling me at (859) 622-1488 or by sending me an e-mail at Please respond no later than Monday, October 28, 2002.

If you are unable to attend but have a colleague you feel would contribute to and benefit from this program, please tell us. We are inviting only about 25 participants.


Elizabeth Hansen, Ph.D.
Professor of Journalism, Eastern Kentucky University




Institute for Rural Journalism & Community Issues

University of Kentucky
College of Communications & Information Studies

106 Grehan Building, Lexington, KY 40506-0042

Phone: (859) 257-7805, Fax: (859) 323-9879, E-mail:

Questions about the web site: Contact Deborah Stigall, Graduate Assistant,

Last Updated: October 31, 2002