Mission, Development, and Recruitment
To cultivate a thriving democracy and informed population by supporting rural news outlets, providing news to underserved rural populations, and exporting rural stories of relevance to a broader audience.
Rural news outlets face significant capacity barriers that prevent coverage outside local politics and events. In aggregate, the absence of news sources providing consistent, in-depth coverage of issues relevant to rural readership represents a deficit in the function of journalism at a core level. The Rural News Network (RNN) aims to address this gap by supporting existing news sources through collaborative effort and co-publication. Partnering with existing rural outlets will enable news that is typically unreported in rural areas, such as natural resource, economic, policy, and political content, to reach underserved rural audiences, helping to inform them about the broader forces that shape their lives and addressing a systemic gap in journalistic reach.
The Rural News Network will provide free or sliding scale coverage of regional, state, and national news relevant to rural communities, creating an interface to share research and news content, and co-publishing with local, regional, and national publications to provide nuanced coverage of rural news to national and regional audiences.
The RNN’s pilot effort debuted in Spring of 2018. In partnership with the Trinity Journal, a rural newspaper in Hayfork, CA, and Digital First Media, a publication network in Northern California providing access to 17 rural news outlets. The RNN tailored broader environmental stories to the Trinity County region, providing coverage on net neutrality and it’s impacts on rural communities and reporting on potential water pollution resulting from cannabis cultivation.
News production has also included coverage of wildfire impacts that ran in the Chico Enterprise-Record and were produced as part of the Follow the Camp Fire project. Informed by input from evacuees, these stories explored barriers to recovery, rising insurance rates and post-fire mental health challenges.
The RNN has secured fiscal sponsorship and is researching the current status of rural news outlets in California and Oregon. We are seeking financial support through fellowships, grants, and foundations.
The RNN is seeking partners for potential collaboration in our pilot structure, and for input that will inform our development and help us better serve rural news sources. Our goal is to grow this project into a vital source of support for rural news outlets that adds to their reach and capacity and creates partnerships with regional and national outlets that will allow rural issues to be better represented in mainstream media. If you would like to learn more or participate in this project, contact Piper McDaniel, Project Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.