NPR's Sarah McCammon recently wrote a piece for Nieman Reports that recommends media outlets hire more journalists who work outside major cities. McCammon grew up in the Midwest and her career includes a stint at Iowa Public Radio.
She thinks one reason the media blew the call on the 2016 presidential election is because they didn’t grasp the level of resentment that people in “flyover country” felt for the political establishment.
Shop Talk panelist Will Buss concurred. He feels the media shut out perspectives from small towns and rural areas during the campaign and he said those were the areas that decided the election.
Buss said he would like to see news outlets develop reporting that provides a more well-rounded and comprehensive view of the nation.
Panelist Jasmine Crighton also would like to see more reporting that includes people from all backgrounds. She said small markets are the training ground for national networks so all reporters should be at least a bit familiar with small town values.
Panelist Rich Egger suggested networks open bureaus in at least a few small communities. He said national reporters are always based in big cities so they wouldn’t know how small town residents feel about current events.
Crighton said it’s not fiscally sound to open bureaus in a bunch of small communities. But Buss said it’s difficult to know what’s happening in a town if you’re not out on its streets and in its shops every day. And Egger said it’s unfortunate that more emphasis is placed on profits than good journalism.
Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.