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How Journalism in Middle America Helped Get Communities Through COVID-19

Locally owned and family-owned newspapers served rural Americans

News of the pandemic’s devastating effect on journalism was conveyed by headlines across the nation telling of newsroom closures, layoffs and furloughs.

But how did so many local news organizations — especially newspapers — manage to survive the pandemic? Weeklies beefed up their daily online news coverage, business models were blown up, and existing rationales for why journalism matters became more than theoretical to rural journalists.

Their determination to survive and serve as a public health lifeline for their communities fueled an oral history project that my colleague, Teri Finneman, and I conducted, interviewing 28 journalists across seven states in the middle of the country. We learned how locally owned and family-owned newspapers made it through COVID-19.

Please select this link to read the complete article from Nieman Labs.

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