The college solution to rural news deserts

Nearly 600 rural colleges are in or near a local news desert. They are in the perfect location to help communities fill the news gap and restore the flow of information that feeds civic participation and economic success.


The most recent annual report of the State of Local News Project by Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism revealed an alarming uptick in news deserts across the country. Since 2005, the country has lost almost 2,900 newspapers and 43,000 journalists. ...

One bright spot in the report is the potential for university reporting programs to be part of the solution by partnering with local news outlets. Colleges and universities in rural areas can engage their students and resources to support local news.

There are 627 colleges and universities located in rural areas, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). About 95% of these — 598 — are located in a news desert or in a county adjacent to a news desert.

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