Watch for chance to localize stories

By Al Cross

cross-alAt The Rural Blog we watch events and issues, but also trends and ideas in rural America – especially those that offer opportunities for localizing stories. We’ve had several examples lately.

The Wall Street Journal reported on a trend you also may have noticed, but didn’t see as a story: a rural boom in electronic commerce, which makes it easier for your readers to buy goods that may not be available locally. The downside is freight charges, which are often higher for more remote areas, and the damage that e-commerce does to local retailers. We excerpted the story at http://bit.ly/2ci7X15.

Stateline, the wonderful news service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, had an interesting story about the difficulties farmers and independent repair shops face because manufacturers aren’t required to make parts and repair information available to customers and independent repair people. I’ll bet you can find some such people among your own readers. Read the story at http://bit.ly/2d46Tzr. Continue reading “Watch for chance to localize stories”

Fact checking resources for newspapers of any size

By AL CROSS
Institute for Rural Journalism
University of Kentucky

Cross_AlAt many community newspapers, treatment of the presidential election may be limited to online polls of your readers’ opinions, or their letters. But this is a race for president like no other, where facts and issues have taken a far back seat to entertainment, personality and character assassination, and it’s unlikely to get better now that we have the two most unpopular nominees in the history of polling.

Why should smaller newspapers devote more space to the race? If dailies rely on the Associated Press, the coverage won’t be localized. If weeklies just stick to local news, they will ignore a major topic of discussion among their readers, many of whom don’t read a daily. Covering the race can help you build and maintain a brand as the most authoritative local source of news and information.

As the primary campaigns ended, many journalists acknowledged that they had done a poor job of holding the nominees and other candidates accountable for their statements, and vowed to do better. But at last month’s conventions, timely fact-checking was rare. All of us in American journalism need to share the load.

Continue reading “Fact checking resources for newspapers of any size”