Real lives are at stake in rural areas

“In way too many stories, the idea that tens of millions of people could lose health insurance amounted to a throwaway line. Those are real people, people like my sister, who will literally die if she can’t afford her medicine.”

Hey there Blue State folks! Those of us out here in the rest of the country are glad that over the last year you’ve shown an interest in making our acquaintance.

Recently, several prominent media organizations took it a step further, announcing support for local journalists. The Nieman Foundation recently announced the Abrams Nieman Fellowship in Local Investigative Journalism. These fellows will join the traditional fellow class plus get additional support and mentoring upon returning to their local newsrooms.

ProPublica meanwhile determined the seven newsrooms in their new Local Reporting Network focused on investigative reporting. The The GroundTruth Project will also soon reveal a new round of reporters placed in smaller markets after announcing earlier a collaboration with three newsrooms in Kentucky and West Virginia. There is definitely an interest among journalists. Nearly 250 newsrooms applied to ProPublica, and an equal number of individuals applied to GroundTruth.

My prediction is that this effort will continue to grow as journalists from different places join in the common goal of doing work that matters in the day-to-day lives of people.

My hope is that this trend will evolve into a sustained exploration of poor health in rural areas, particularly Appalachia.

Why? Rural health is in a crisis. It’s certainly been reported that people are dying in record numbers from drug overdose. But it’s less widely known that 100 of the 220 counties at highest risk for HIV and Hepatitis-C infection are in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio.

Drug abuse is creating other health challenges such as endocarditis, a heart infection that requires long and expensive treatment and which can be spread by reusing syringes. Or neonatal abstinence syndrome, which impacts at least 5 percent of all babies born in West Virigina.

This is impacting communities where people are actually living shorter lives than they used to.

These problems don’t stop at state borders. The burden of caring for folks, or letting them die, should be a critical part of the national discourse, not simply a health policy talking point.

Ideally, national and regional news organizations will examine how they use their most valuable resource, people. The endless tick-tock and vote counting on health care policy is a good example. In way too many stories, the idea that tens of millions of people could lose health insurance amounted to a throwaway line. Those are real people, people like my sister, who will literally die if she can’t afford her medicine.

Sustained political will is necessary to make a tangible change and that begins with dedicated journalists laying bare the problems, but also highlighting the good work people are doing to change their communities for the better.

Highlighting that work can help it be replicated in other places and, over time, that could mean the horrifying health trends evident in places like Kentucky, where I live, will start to change.

Mary Meehan covers healthcare policy for the Ohio Valley ReSource.

Sara M. Watson   Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Aron Pilhofer   We can’t leave the business to the business side any more

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg   (Hint: It’s about your brand)

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Errin Haines Whack   At the ballot, it’s time to count black women

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Paul Ford   Go global

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Jesse Holcomb   Information disorder, coming to a congressional district near you

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Burt Herman   Things get real

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Jake Levine   The return to now

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration