Community, rural newspapers ‘surprisingly healthy’

Romenesko Misc.
The Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University has just published an analysis of rural newspapers that tracks the growth of that media category, from Boston’s Publick Occurrences in 1690 to the over 10,000 publications in print today. “The community newspaper business is healthier than metro newspapers, because it hasn’t been invaded by Internet competition,” Al Cross, a rural journalism analyst at the University of Kentucky, told the researchers. “Craigslist doesn’t serve these kinds of communities. They have no effective competition for local news. Rural papers own the franchise locally of the most credible information.”


From: Geoff McGhee
Date: July 7, 2011 7:22:59 AM PDT
Subject: New Project at the Lane Center: Data Vis on US Newspapers

Just wanted to ping you about a new project we’ve just launched at the Lane Center, a look at the surprising health of rural and community newspapers in the US. We’ve got a story, historical essay and data visualization teed up and looking for a wider audience. I’m sure many journalists would be interested in finding their newspapers in the map, too.

The Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University has just published an analysis of rural newspapers, including an interactive map showing 300 years of American papers. Created by a team of journalists working together with scholars and students from Stanford’s renowned history and computer science programs, the visualization tracks the growth of media from Boston’s Publick Occurrences in 1690 to the over 10,000 publications in print today.

“The community newspaper business is healthier than metro newspapers, because it hasn’t been invaded by Internet competition,” Al Cross, a rural journalism analyst at the University of Kentucky, told the researchers. “Craigslist doesn’t serve these kinds of communities. They have no effective competition for local news. Rural papers own the franchise locally of the most credible information.”

- Interactive Data Vis: the Growth of U.S. Newspapers, 1690-2011
- Article: Rural Newspapers are a Journalism Bright Spot
- Essay: How Newspapers Helped to Build the American West

The author, Geoff McGhee, is a veteran multimedia journalist from The New York Times, ABCNews and Le Monde. McGhee build the multimedia unit at The Times, and is the producer of the acclaimed interactive documentary “Journalism in the Age of Data” (datajournalism.stanford.edu) Now working at a research center at Stanford, McGhee is collaborating across disciplines with scholars, technologists and fellow journalists to produce stories, data visualizations and multimedia. Among the contributors to this project were Krissy Clark, the LA Bureau Chief for KQED Public Media and John McChesney, who was a top correspondent at NPR for many years.

The Bill Lane Center for the American West is developing a new hybrid academic/nonprofit model for innovative journalism about important contemporary topics, under the roof of a research organization established by two leading American historians and Stanford professors, David M. Kennedy and Richard White.

The entire package is at http://ruralwest.stanford.edu/newspapers

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Geoff McGhee
Creative Director of Media and Communications
Bill Lane Center for the American West
Stanford University
Jerry Yang & Akiko Yamazaki Environment & Energy Building
473 Via Ortega, Room 347
Stanford, California 94305

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  • http://www.facebook.com/howardowens Howard Owens

    Of course, the report doesn’t address what’s happening in those few rural communities where newspapers are facing online-only competition.