Tuesday, April 30, 2019

New Ky.-based publication aims to bring nuanced coverage of justice, environment and culture in the rural South

Lyndsey Gilpin
A new nonprofit media organization aims to bring readers a nuanced look at ecology, justice and culture in the South. Based in Whitesburg, Ky., Southerly is meant to fill the "glaring hole in dedicated coverage of the complex relationship Southerners have with their natural resources," the publication's founder and editor, Lyndsey Gilpin, writes in The Daily Yonder.

The rural South is a large and diverse area, and its residents deserve a publication that covers these issues "without being condescending or stereotypical, without parachuting in from large metropolitan areas," Gilpin writes in Southerly's "About" page. "The rest of the world deserves to know about the creative ways communities here are adapting to these changes and how those in economic and political power are responding to either move the region forward or maintain the status quo."

Urban or nationwide media outlets often oversimplify issues and perpetuate negative rural and/or Southern stereotypes in their coverage, Gilpin writes for the Yonder. Not only does that make rural areas look bad, but it also effectively excludes the people most affected by these issues from the larger discussion, and therefore from problem-solving efforts. So Southerly makes it a point to include regional and national context in its stories, so readers from anywhere can better understand what's going on. Gilpin also plans (and has already held some) events in rural communities to discuss issues, trust in journalism, and civic engagement.

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