It’s easy to get the news in a small town. Just go to the grocery.
In our town, Bobby works in the meat department and he normally knows most of what’s happening. The mayor runs a cash register so you can conduct an interview as she scans. Or you meet somebody near the bananas and catch up on the latest gossip. It’s like CNN, only without the commercials.
The problem comes when you want to know about things beyond the county line. Sure, I can read about the Houston city council and the United Nations. I can watch Yak TV and listen to the latest political horseplay. But if I want to find out about communities like mine, well, good luck. You all know the story. Regional papers cut reporters and closed bureaus. The big newspapers and networks treat rural communities as “feature stories,” a category more about amusement than news.
But we do have the Daily Yonder. And it is making a difference.
We began the Yonder in 2007 because nobody else was doing the job of telling the news of rural America. Now there is a place to go every day to learn something about the world outside the urban sprawl.
And we do learn, often before our urban neighbors. For example, last week I read in the New York Times that rates of death from Covid were higher at first in the cities but then rates outside urban areas had risen. Heck, I knew that years ago from reading the Yonder. Or, economist Paul Krugman wrote recently about the “fact” that rural America received more money from the federal government than urban areas. But the Yonder reported ten years ago on a government study finding that federal spending per person was higher in the cities (Okay, so maybe Krugman doesn’t read the Yonder. His loss.).
The Yonder keeps getting better. A whole new generation of writers and researchers are adding music, interviews, news and insights. Every day is a surprise. Every day I learn. My eyes open a little wider.
Like many good things, however, bringing news of rural America to the world is a do-it-yourself enterprise. No one else is going to pick up this job should the Yonder disappear. We either do it ourselves or it simply won’t get done.
By “we” I mean, well, all of us. We all have to pitch in for the Yonder to continue. So, before you head out to the store to catch up on the local news and maybe buy dinner, give to the Yonder.
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Note, contributions from individuals are eligible to be matched up to $1,000 per donor from November 1 to December 31, 2022, to a combined total of at least $15,000, through the NewsMatch national-matching program. The Daily Yonder has been selected to receive an additional $15,000 in matching funds from NewsMatch for its dedication to providing coverage of rural Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin and highlighting issues that impact residents’ lives and support civic engagement. These matching funds run concurrently, which means every dollar we raise, up to $15,000, is matched twice. Monthly recurring donations are matched at the 12-month value of the donation, up to $1,000. For more details about eligibility see NewsMatch guidelines. The Daily Yonder is a project of the Center for Rural Strategies, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Gifts may be tax deductible; consult a tax adviser for more information.