Mission, Development, and Recruitment
The Rural News Network is a news publication model dedicated to supporting rural news outlets by providing free or sliding scale supporting coverage of regional, state, and national news relevant to rural communities, developing programs to provide financial support and training for these outlets, creating an interface to share research and news content, and co-publishing with local, regional, and national publications to export 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 aims to address this gap by supporting existing news sources through collaborative effort and co-publication, enabling relevant news such as natural resource, economic, policy, and political content to reach underserved rural audiences, informing them about the broader forces that shape their lives and addressing a systemic gap in journalistic reach.
The Rural News Network is a nonprofit news source. Development efforts are supported by academic resources at the University of Oregon journalism graduate program and the California Newspaper Publishers Association . We are currently seeking development support through fellowships, grants, and foundations.
We are currently partnering with the Trinity Journal and Digital Media, a news network of 30 publications throughout California, to pioneer a pilot publication structure.
Immediate actions underway include: 1) assessment of the capacity and priority needs of at least 20 rural news outlets, 2) an assessment of the priority areas of coverage according to the self-identified needs of rural news outlets, 3) with assistance from the California Newspaper Publishers Association, identification of potential partnerships in addition to an existing three, 4) creation of a roster of freelance journalists that cover rural issues, 5) the creation of a digital interface linking these journalists with rural news outlets, and 6) the development of a pilot structure to be crafted in collaboration with rural outlets.
We are 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 exciting project, contact me, project founder and director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.