Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Journalist-author, a rural native, says metro and national editors should commission stories from rural journalists

Editors of national and metropolitan publications should commission stories from rural journalists who have more knowledge of their communities than urban reporters who parachute in, journalist Sarah Smarsh told Journalist's Resource, a service of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, where she was recently a Joan Shorenstein fellow, developing a podcast about the intersection of health and poverty.

Sarah Smarsh
“I’m most partial to the strategies that essentially harness the reporting power of people who are already there in those places who perhaps were laid off five years ago from their local newspaper,” Smarsh said. “I think we’ll find out the extent to which those strategies succeed over the next few years.”

Smarsh says too many urban reports on rural areas paid with a broad, white brush. Rural areas are much more racially diverse than one would think from reading national headlines, she told JRThose parts of the country have always been much more than white people, and as we speak they are diversifying, in some places quite rapidly, often due to an influx in immigrant populations taking jobs in industries like industrial agriculture and meatpacking plants. Barely a majority of the eligible voting population ends up at the polls, and then somewhere around under half of people vote for the candidate who wins that state, and then the whole square is colored red on a cable-news graphic.

"Smarsh reports on socioeconomic class, politics and more for national and international outlets, including The Guardian, The New Yorker and The Cut," JR reports. "Her forthcoming book, Heartland: A Daughter of the Working Class Reconciles an American Divide, delves into her experiences with class and place growing up on a working farm in Kansas."

No comments: