Join the discussion

Presented by The Rural Assembly and the Daily Yonder, the Rural Journalism Collective is open to everyone working in, or simply interested in, rural journalism. Our aim is to network, talk shop, share ideas, and uplift excellent work.

Upcoming events

Rural Data: Telling Stories with Numbers

Dec. 7, 2023 | 2 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. CT| 12 p.m. MT | 11 a.m. PT

Rural datasets can be difficult to find and even more difficult to analyze. But utilizing data in telling rural stories is a great way to interrogate, and disprove, widespread misconceptions about rural America. Join a panel of rural-focused reporters and editors as we talk about where the heck to get rural data, the relationship between datasets and story ideation, and review some of our favorite data stories. Panelists include Daily Yonder Editor Tim Marema and Daily Yonder Data Correspondent Sarah Melotte. 

Sarah Melotte

Sarah Melotte is a geographer and journalist based in the rural Western North Carolina mountains. She started at the Daily Yonder as a Reporting Fellow in 2021 while finishing her graduate program in applied geography and geospatial science. Sarah joined the Yonder staff as a full-time data correspondent in January, 2023.

Tim Marema

Tim Marema is editor of the Daily Yonder, a national rural news platform, and is a founding staff member of the Daily Yonder’s publishing organization, the Center for Rural Strategies. Marema grew up in Eastern Kentucky and started his journalism career at his hometown weekly newspaper while a student at Berea College. He served as editor of the daily Chapel Hill (North Carolina) Herald and as zoned-editions editor of the Durham Herald-Sun, 1988-1992. He was the development director of Appalshop, the Appalachian media-arts collective, in the 1990s.

Dr. Megan Lawson

Dr. Megan Lawson leads Headwaters Economics research in outdoor recreation and public lands. She uses economic and statistical analysis to better understand the issues that communities face such as the economic potential and impacts of housing and land use policies, economic diversification, and public land management. Equal parts scientist and communicator, Megan uses data to conduct actionable research that illuminates solutions. She applies analytical skills to land use, natural resource, and public health topics, with an emphasis on the unique needs and opportunities for rural communities.

Past events

Unpacking Food and Ag Reporting

Journalists Chris Clayton, ag policy editor for Progressive Farmer; Claire Carlson, staff correspondent at the Daily Yonder; and Tom Philpott, former food and ag correspondent for Mother Jones. discuss food and ag policy, journalism, and advocacy, and answer questions from participants.

Covering Rural Education

Hear from national higher education reporter Nick Fouriezos, Daily Yonder digital editor Caroline Carlson, and Alan Richard, former education reporter and current news manager for the Southern Regional Education Board as they discuss news coverage of rural higher ed and K-12. 

Reporting on Rural: The How and Why

This discussion dives into how we’re looking at rural data, what we’ve been working on lately, and how we assess rural stories, among other things. Featured panelists: Tim Marema — Editor, the Daily Yonder,  Pamela Dempsey — Executive Director, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting Terrence Williams — President and Chief Operating Officer, The Keene Sentinel Moderated by Caroline Carlson — Digital Editor, the Daily Yonder.

Recorded live at the Rural Assembly Rural Women Everywhere, our panelists talk about the benefits and challenges facing women working as journalists in rural communities. The conversation features Daily Yonder contributor Kristi Eaton, Daily Yonder contributor Liz Carey, Daily Yonder multimedia correspondent Xandr Brown, and Daily Yonder Digital Editor Caroline Carlson. 

Have questions about the Rural Journalism Collective or suggestions for future discussions? Send us a note!