NEWS AND EVENTS
Remembering Rudy Abramson, co-founder of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
- National Summit on Journalism in Rural America: Reports, videos and more from the first national conference on rural journalism
- Economic development a main theme this summer
For decades, rural areas had three great advantages in recruiting and retaining jobs: Low taxes, low land costs and low wages. The first two are not as big as they were, and the third one has largely been eliminated by economic globalization, so many rural communities are suffering economically. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues believes that newspapers should not only help their readers understand these issues, but look for proper opportunities to guide the economic future of their communities. That future includes the future of newspapers and broadcast stations, so this is an area where good journalism can also be good business. But it can also present special challenges. Al Cross, director of the Institute, is talking with journalists and economic developers about how to turn such challenges into opportunities, and how rural journalists should cover and guide local economic development. His presentation schedule:
June 28: Mississippi Press Association, Biloxi
July 9: Southern Newspaper Publishers Association Traveling Campus, Lexington, Ky. (with Dr. Ken Troske, director of University of Kentucky Center for Business and Economics Research)
Tennessee Press Institute, Nashville
- Courage in Community Journalism: Chicago, Aug. 8
A distinguishing feature of community journalism is the interconnectedness of the journalists’ lives with those of their subjects, sources, readers, listeners and viewers. That makes many community journalists avoid coverage that may embarrass or harm, even though the potential subjects of such coverage are local officials, institutions or political or economic players that local journalists could play a significant role in holding accountable. But there are many examples of courage in community journalism, in which editors, publishers and broadcasters take on local officials, institutions and other centers of power. What are the key characteristics of such journalists? What do their individual stories tell about the difficulty of showing courage in community journalism? What lessons can they teach for those moments when community journalists need to be courageous? Are there maxims to follow, or are the cases too dependent on characteristics of the individual community? How can these lessons be conveyed to students?
Answers to these and other questions are in store at “Case Studies of Courage in Community Journalism,” a panel discussion at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications convention at the Downtown Chicago Marriott Friday, Aug. 8 from 1:45 to 3:15 p.m. This panel will include Tom and Pat Gish, publishers, The Mountain Eagle, Whitesburg, Ky. (by video): Laurie Ezzell Brown, editor, The Canadian Record, Canadian, Tex., and winner of the 2007 Gish Award for courage, integrity and tenacity in rural journalism; Bernard Stein, Hunter College and The Riverdale Press, New York City, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing; and Homer Marcum, former editor and publisher, The Martin Countian, Inez, Ky.
The convention runs Aug. 6-10. Registration is $125 for AEJMC members and $230 for non-members. For information on the convention, go to http://www.aejmc.org/_events/convention/chicago_promo.pdf.
- Sunshine Seminars attract Kentucky journalists
More than 50 Kentucky journalists attended Sunshine Seminars on open meetings, open records and open courts May 29 in Lexington and June 5 in Madisonville. The seminars were sponsored by the Kentucky Press Association and programmed by the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center of the School of Journalism and Telecommunications at the University of Kentucky.
Another Sunsine Seminar, for journalists in Eastern Kentucky, may be scheduled this fall. Watch this page and the Rural Calendar for the news.
Kentucky's open-meetings and open-records laws are some of the strongest in the nation, but newspapers
often don't take full advantage of them, so they miss stories that their readers need and want. These
workshops are designed to help reporters and editors at all levels improve their skills at using state and
federal freedom of information laws.
Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues helps
non-metropolitan media define the public agenda in their communities,
through strong reporting and commentary on local issues and on
broader issues that have local impact. Its initial focus area
is Central Appalachia, but as an arm of the University of Kentucky
it has a statewide mission, and it has national scope. It has
academic collaborators at Appalachian State University, East Tennessee
State University, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgia College
and State University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Iowa State University, Marshall
University, Middle Tennessee State University, Ohio University,
Penn State, Southeast Missouri State University, the University of Alaska-Anchorage, the University of Georgia, the University of North Carolina-Chapel
Hill, the University of North Dakota, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Virginia Tech, Washington and Lee
University, West Virginia University and the Knight Community
Journalism Fellows program of the University of Alabama. To get notices of daily Rural Blog postings and other
Institute news, click