The editor of CCO Magazine would like to draw readers’ attention to the article published by the foreignpress.org media portal: How Journalists Can Contribute While Living Outside of Major Cities
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How Journalists Can Contribute While Living Outside of Major Cities
A staggering one in five United States journalists work in newsrooms situated in New York, Los Angeles, or Washington D.C. Reflecting upon which prolific news sources immediately come to mind as pinnacles of U.S. journalism will prove this: The New York Times, CNN, the Washington Post, and even Fox News are situated primarily in these major cities. That being said, there are 19,495 incorporated cities, towns and villages in the United States, and those places are not devoid of journalists either.
Access to, timeliness of, and clarity of information are three central concerns one might have working outside of a major city, as those newsrooms tend to have more resources and work more quickly. However, the COVID-19 pandemic largely changed American’s standards for how they show up to work, and the opportunities journalists in more rural areas may have to contribute to major publications are stronger now. Journalists may see living in lower-cost areas outside of major cities as very appealing, since media jobs mostly pay a pittance.
What would a journalist need to equip themselves with to contribute productively to global conversations while living in a rural or remote area?
The most vital piece of our post-COVID society is an internet connection, and a journalist should really start with making sure they have a clear, clean broadband connection that will allow for large scale projects, video conferences, interviews, and other important pieces of their process. This may seem obvious, but access to good broadband varies greatly throughout the United States, with some remote areas having little to no internet access.
Living remotely means being isolated from fellow journalists, but there are some resources to help mitigate that. One such resource is the Society of Freelance Journalists, which has virtual meetups and discussion boards available. Freelance journalist Arlene Harris, who works from rural Ireland, said this is valuable because “it can be pretty isolating at times, and if you are used to a busier or more fast-paced life, then the adjustment can be hard.” Other ways you could build community include joining a union. Nearly 1 in 6 U.S. journalists is in a union, according to the Poynter institute.
CONNECT TO WHAT LITTLE COMMUNITY THERE IS IN PERSON
One of the most important things is choosing a location in which there is something to connect to, according to Emily Popek, who resides in Oneonta, New York—a town just shy of 14,000 people. “To succeed as a freelancer outside of a big city, I think the key is to make your location work for you, not against you,” she said, adding:
“For another, think about the stories you can cover – the people and places you have access to, and the points of view you’re familiar with, that your editors in major cities might not be aware of. This can be a real strength for you as a freelancer if you can make it part of your beat.”
Appropriately, Popek’s portfolio contains pieces both in the New York Times as well as local news in Oneonta.
It’s not easy living outside a big city for a multitude of reasons: poor access to transit, fewer resources for food, water, and shelter, and, in some cases, infrastructure that seems hostile for a journalist. But if you can’t stand the ire, noise, and toil of a big city, it might be worth looking into how you can keep your process, your clients, and your work out there while protecting your own mental health. These tools are a good place to begin.
This article is a republication. It is re posted from foreignpress.org media portal, with the permission of the editorial office.