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Into the Issues by Al Cross

Al Cross edited and managed rural newspapers before covering politics for the Louisville Courier Journal and serving as president of the Society of Professional Journalists. He is a journalism professor at the University of Kentucky and director of its Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which publishes The Rural Blog at

If you produce good journalism, you can get direct contributions from readers

A new maxim — or is it a mandate? — of the newspaper business is “Get more revenue from your audience.” But that doesn’t have to come entirely in the form of higher subscription ...

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Postmaster general says some changes delayed mail, vows extra effort to get ballots delivered timely; backs 6-day mail

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy acknowledged in sworn testimony before a Senate committee this morning that his changes in the U.S. Postal Service have delayed delivery of some mail, but he said ...

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Amid bad news, here’s an idea

A permanent solution to a temporary problem

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Bold, persistent experimentation is needed

We must repeatedly explain that news outlets offer journalism, which has a discipline of verification: we emphasize facts, attribute opinion and clearly separate the two.

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Open-records battles — a good topic for Sunshine Week; will the census count rural America well?

“What happens when the news is gone?” The New Yorker magazine asked in January, in its headline over a long story about the failing local-news ecosystem in Jones County, North Carolina. It ...

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Into the Issues: Research in old community newspapers shows value of printed page and granular local reporting

When Jim Phillips of Lexington, Kentucky, started poring through microfilm copies of old newspapers to research his family history, he thought it would be “a legacy to be left for my family and others, ...

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It's a buyer's market for community weeklies, but buyers are needed; how about it, refugees from metropolitan papers?

That’s not true of most community newspapers because they are the sole, reliable source of news about their communities, and most of them “are doing fine financially,” says Kevin Slimp, ...

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Counteract stigma with reporting; localize national rural health issues

The folks at Oak Ridge said local news media can counteract stigma with reporting. 

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Community apathy led to death of Warroad (Minnesota) Pioneer

“He said he spent a week in Warroad, talking to locals about the paper closing. He admitted that most folks, outside of the Pioneer staff and their husbands, didn't seem too broken up about it.”

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Newspapers must adapt, be reliable and relevant

The story had a strong central basis, the research of Penny Abernathy and her colleagues at the University of North Carolina. 

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Newspapers need to explain 'how we work'

There’s a war on journalism in America, and it’s not just being waged in Washington, D.C.

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