Jay Kosa, a master’s student in Multimedia Journalism at the University of Oregon, discusses the value of engaged reporting in rural communities, where the idea of engagement is already a part of regular life compared to urban journalism.
While there might not be much use for the word engagement at small community papers, engaged journalism practices may offer value by equipping larger outlets to better cover rural communities. When an event of national significance takes place in a small town, the vast majority of the news produced and consumed will be provided by statewide and national outlets. In some cases, building relationships proactively can be the difference between those outlets getting it right and completely missing the mark. We also risk sowing further mistrust when we parachute in only when something goes horribly awry.
This is a good read that will help you reconsider what assumptions you have about rural community coverage and what to keep in mind.