Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reporting on and from rural America

I enjoyed this story in the New York Times a few days ago. Richard Perez-Pena reports from Santa Rosa, New Mexico, population 2,744, where M.E. Sprengelmeyer, formerly the Washington, DC, correspondent for the Rocky Mountain News, recently purchased the Guadalupe County Communicator. Guadalupe County, population 4,680, is in central New Mexico, a few hours east of Albuquerque.

Perez-Pena notes that the town actually has two newspapers; the Communicator competes with the smaller Santa Rosa News, whose editor has commented, "“M. E. is making me a better newspaper man.”

I also like this quote from Sprengelmeyer about his wish to expand to twice-weekly publication:
If a house burns down, everybody here knows it, saw it, knew the people, probably hugged them, but they still want to read about it in a paper that comes out four days later.
That's rural, alright.


Spec said...

Perhaps this is the first step in reaching the "critical mass" in media discussed in class. The more local information outlets the less likely a story like Koch Chicken is going to be able to slip through the cracks.According to my internet search, there is one newspaper in Morristown, TN, the Citizen Tribune, which really isn't a local paper but more of a regional one.

A concept twist on the concept of the market-based, but information today is the new currency and he/she who completely controls the info is very rich indeed.

Anonymous said...

I think newspaper overkill is a defining characteristic of rural areas. I remember how little rural towns would have their own 6 page paper in a stand next to the local micro-tropolis's newspaper, next to the nearest big city's news paper. In Hayesville, NC, we'd have the Clay County Progress next to the Asheville Citizen-Times next to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. But if you drove 40 miles east on US-64 to Brevard or Rosman, the Journal-Constitution was replaced by the Charlotte News and Observer. I always found it fascinating to see what "big city" newspaper a little town chose; it almost seemed to be a statement of what stream of commerce the town wanted to align itself with. If you went to a bigger town, the newspaper hierarchy just bumped up one notch: Asheville had the Citizen-Times next door to the Charlotte News and Observer next door to the Washington Post.