Friday, June 26, 2020

Expert offers tips to metro journalists on covering rural pandemic

As the coronavirus continues to spread in rural areas, urban and suburban journalists may want to cover the rural aspects of the pandemic.

Carrie Henning-Smith, deputy director of the University of Minnesota's Rural Health Research Center, offers journalists four tips for covering rural health and health care in the context of covid-19, Sari Boren reports for Journalist's Resource.

Journalists must look at covid-19 rates at the county and town level, not just at the state level, she advises. It's also important not to cover rural areas as homogeneous, and recognize that racial and ethnic minorities face many of the same systemic disparities in rural areas as they do in cities, Boren reports.

Though rural health care systems are often hurting financially and have fewer resources than their larger counterparts, journalists need to recognize that many rural systems are independent, which can be an advantage because it allows them to take action more quickly, Henning-Smith notes. She also recommends that journalists take cues from news outlets experienced in covering rural America, such as The Daily Yonder, Boren reports.

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