MEET THE DIRECTOR of the Institute for Rural Journalism

BENJY HAMM is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which helps rural news media define the public agenda in their communities and report on broader issues that have local impact but few local sources. The Institute is based in the University of Kentucky’s School of Journalism and Media, where Hamm is an associate professor in the Extension Title series, meaning that most of his work is directed off campus.

Hamm held leadership positions for nearly 30 years in news-media organizations including Landmark Media Enterprises, the New York Times Co. and The Associated Press. He led the news operations of more than 70 newspapers, online sites and college-sports publications for Landmark Community Newspapers of Shelbyville, Ky., one of the nation’s leading community-news publishers before it was sold in 2021. He was managing editor of The Herald-Journal, then an NYT paper in Spartanburg, S.C.; editor of the thrice-weekly Lancaster News in South Carolina, and an AP reporter and editor. He has a master’s degree in mass communications from the University of South Carolina and is also a graduate of Catawba College. He is a native of Salisbury, N.C. and taught journalism at Campbellsville University in Kentucky before coming to UK.

Hamm succeeded the Institute’s founding director, Al Cross, who is now part-time director emeritus and remain extension professor in the journalism school. “I could not think of a better successor than Benjy Hamm,” Cross said. “His career has given him a deep, broad understanding of rural journalism and its challenges, and I look forward to working with him to help rural communities sustain local journalism that serves democracy.”

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