Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, University of Kentucky
Here's a great idea that needs your active support: a project to put experienced investigative editors in local newsrooms that want to do investigative reporting.
|Reporters Danielle Gable, left, and Bob Clark pose with editor|
Rose Ciotta and their award from the New York State AP.
The Times Herald, which has a Sunday circulation of 9,000, won third place for investigations by small newsrooms in the New York State Associated Press contest for "Olean’s Weak Anti-Blight Plan Puts Stress on Rental Housing," which exposed bad rental-housing conditions in the city in New York's Southern Tier. Now Tom Dinki, a reporter for the Community Media Group paper, is working on the plight of shrinking rural school districts.
In Pennsylvania, GateHouse Media's Beaver County Times did a four-part series on the impact of the opioid crisis in and around Beaver, population 4,500, which has had the state's highest death rate from fentanyl overdoses. "Soon after the January report, the state’s governor declared a statewide opioid disaster emergency," Ciotta reports.
Ciotta's work was funded by the Investigative Editing Corps, a pilot project funded by the Jim Bettinger News Innovation Fund of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University. Now Ciotta is seeking major funding to keep it going, and needs to hear from local newsrooms so she can show funders that there is a demand for such help.
Gamble wrote in a support letter, “I’m no longer the same person I was — I am more capable of delivering good journalism to my town, and I am more motivated than ever to serve it.” Times Editor Lisa Mascaro wrote, “This type of editor help is critical to small newsroom operations. As quickly as our industry changes, the one constant is the need for investigative journalism. A program such as Investigative Editing Corps would ensure that small newsrooms could make a difference.”