Radically Rural’s Community Journalism Program focuses on sustainability, great works of journalism by rural news organizations


Radically Rural, the two-day national summit that features sessions on community journalism, takes place Sept. 27-28 in Keene, New Hampshire.

With a theme of “How did they do that?,” two of the journalism sessions focus on news organizations that have built sustainability through various means, including philanthropic support, custom publishing, digital readership and membership, while a third looks at some of the best journalism being produced at rural news organizations in the country.

For the first time, journalists can determine their admission price, based on their ability to afford to attend, for as little as no charge up to the full summit price of $175. There are a limited number of free tickets.

“We want to make this is as affordable as possible for journalists to attend, particularly those stressed by the challenging revenue markets facing their organizations and the cost of travel,” said organizer Terrence L. Williams, senior adviser for audience and community development for The Keene Sentinel. The Sentinel partners with the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship each year to stage Radically Rural, which features solutions-based sessions for small communities on seven tracks — community journalism, land use, downtowns, healthcare, entrepreneurship, arts and culture and clean energy.

This year’s event is in-person, William said. To register to attend or learn more about the programming, go to www.radicallyrural.org

Here's this year’s community journalism program:

Sept. 27 I 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

How’d they do that? Building sustainability: The demise of local journalism in rural America has received national attention, but in more places than you think, small news organizations are thriving. Our panel discussion will give you insights into how three news organizations have evolved their operations to secure a bright future.

Moderator — Terrence L. Williams

PanelistsJoey Young, majority owner, Kansas Publishing Ventures, publisher of Harvey County Now, The Clarion and The Hillsboro Free Press; Chris Baker, publisher, Taos News, Taos, New Mexico; and Tristan Scott, managing editor, The Flathead Beacon, Kalispell, Montana.

Sept. 27 I The Fourth Estate – 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Jeremiah Ariaz, professor of art at Louisiana State University, spent months in Kansas documenting in photography the state of more than 100 rural newspapers. In a moving, nostalgic presentation, he presents the fears and hopes for democracy in communities left without a newspaper or those clinging to what they have. Lunch provided. 

Sept. 27 I 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

How'd they do that? Generating audience revenue: Successful rural news organizations are building revenue through fundraising, membership and paid readership. Our panel discussion unveils best practices among for-profit organizations and non-profits alike.

ModeratorShay Totten, newsroom success manager, American Press Institute

PanelistsArik Ligeti, director of audience, The Narwhal, non-profit online publication, Victoria, B.C., Canada; Christiaan Mader, founder/editor, The Current, Lafayette, Louisiana.

Sept. 28 I 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

How'd they do that? Groundbreaking journalism: A deep dive into how three organizations — from Mississippi to North Caroline to Maine — reported powerful stories that have deeply impacted the rural communities they cover.

ModeratorJack Rooney, managing editor, audience development, The Keene Sentinel

Panelists: Victoria Bouloubasis, journalist, filmmaker, Durham, N.C.; Adam Ganucheau, editor-in-chief, Mississippi Today; Samantha Hogan, investigative reporter, The Maine Monitor, Augusta, Maine.

 About our speakers:

Terry Williams is senior adviser for audience and community engagement, for The Keene Sentinel. He is the co-founder of Radically Rural for which The Sentinel was featured as one of Editor and Publisher’s 10 News Publishers That Do It Right in 2020. Williams has been in journalism since 1979, starting as an intern reporter and has held several reporter and editor titles over the years. He was publisher of The Telegraph (Nashua, New Hampshire) for almost 19 years and was president and COO at The Sentinel from 2013 until recently when he retired from full-time work to take on a new part-time role at the paper. The Sentinel has earned Innovator of the Year Awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association six out of the last 10 years; in 2022 Williams was recognized with a Yankee Quill Award, one of the highest honors given to New England journalists.

Jack Rooney is the managing editor for audience development at The Keene Sentinel. A third-generation journalist originally from the south side of Chicago, Rooney began his career at The Daily Record in Wooster, Ohio, where he covered criminal justice and public safety, but also spent time on the business, city government and education beats. He came to The Sentinel in May 2020 as an education reporter, and later rose to become deputy local news editor before taking on his current role in February 2023. His journalism has won awards for community service and audience-building and been recognized by the New England Newspaper & Press Association as among "very best work that New England newspapers produce."

Joey Young and his wife Lindsey are the majority owners of Kansas Publishing Ventures (KPV) which oversees the publication of three weekly newspapers: Harvey County Now, The Clarion and The Hillsboro Free Press. They also throw an annual event called Blues, Brews and Barbeque, and recently started a reader membership program called Press Club. They also recently developed "Earn Your Press Pass," which is being implemented as on-demand training software for new reporters with limited or no past journalism experience. Young was featured in 2020 as one of Editor and Publisher's 25 under 35 list, and KPV was featured as one of E&P's "10 News Publishers That Do It Right" in 2022. 

Chris Baker has been the publisher of the Taos News since 2000. Baker and his team in Taos publish more than 25 niche magazines and guides. Niche revenue is the paper’s most significant revenue stream, grossing over $1 million annually. The 9,000 circulation weekly churns out high-quality fiber and cyber niche products from illustrated maps to sophisticated glossy magazines. Baker was inducted into the New Mexico Press Association Hall of Fame in 2018 and was president of the NMPA in 2004.

Tristan Scott is managing editor of the Flathead Beacon in northwest Montana, where he lives on the doorstep of Glacier National Park. He also edits Flathead Living, a quarterly lifestyle magazine, and Glacier Journal, an annual field guide promoting outdoor ethics and etiquette at one of America’s most popular national parks. Having spent much of his 18-year career in journalism working as an award-winning environmental and political reporter recognized for his literary talent and watchdog tenacity, Scott’s work has shone a light on topics as complex as international water agreements, tribal sovereignty, grizzly bear management and dark money in elections. Most recently, his editorial leadership has helped guide a small community newsroom as it pioneers new pathways to sustainability in print and digital journalism.

Arik Ligeti is the director of audience at The Narwhal, a non-profit online magazine dedicated to covering the natural world in Canada. In his role, Ligeti oversees efforts to build an engaged community of readers and, in turn, members to support The Narwhal’s in-depth and investigative journalism. Before joining The Narwhal in 2020, he worked as a digital editor at The Globe and Mail, a Canadian national newspaper.

Christiaan Mader is the founder and executive editor of The Current. His work has appeared in The New York Times, NPR, Gambit, Offbeat, 64 Parishes, USA Today Network and The Advocate. He is a Lafayette native and a recovering musician. He is also a member of The Current’s board of directors.

Shay Totten is newsroom success manager for the American Press Institute. Totten works with newsrooms that utilize API’s proprietary analytics tool Metrics for News, built to help publishers answer important audience questions, identify better ways to engage users, improve loyalty and drive subscriptions. He joined API in 2022 after leading the growth and membership strategy at The Compass Experiment (a collaboration between the Google News Initiative and McClatchy) that launched digital newsrooms in underserved communities. He previously worked as a consultant for the News Revenue Hub, LION Publishers and Inside Climate News, and specializes in audience engagement and membership best practices as well as strategic communications.

Victoria Bouloubasis is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker based in Durham, North Carolina. Her work aims to dispel myths about the Global South — its people and places — against the backdrop of complex social, political and personal histories. She often tells stories at the intersection of food, labor and immigration. The majority of her career has been spent in rural North Carolina documenting labor rights, healthcare and language access in the agriculture and food industries. She also served as a producer on the TelevisaUnivision film Rising Up in the Heartland: Latino workers fight for pandemic relief, which won 2022 Documentary Video of the Year from POY International. The film follows marginalized and undocumented Latino workers in rural Iowa who took on a bold new challenge after fighting COVID: demanding a share of the pandemic relief funds that have excluded them. Victoria has reported from the U.S. South and Midwest, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Greece.

Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today's editor-in-chief, oversees the state's largest newsroom and guides the editorial team to cover stories of importance to everyday Mississippians. He was the lead editor of the newsroom's award-winning "The Backchannel" investigation, which exposed the roles of high-profile players in the state's welfare scandal, and won a Pulitzer Prize. A native of Hazlehurst, Mississippi, he has covered politics and state government for Mississippi Today since February 2016. He previously worked as a staff reporter for AL.com, The Birmingham News and the Clarion Ledger. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He earned his bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Mississippi.

Samantha Hogan is an investigative reporter with The Maine Monitor. She joined the nonprofit newsroom as its first full-time reporter in 2019 through Report for America. She spent 2020 reporting exclusively on Maine's court system through the ProPublica Local Reporting Network and has continued to write about the state's troubled indigent public defense system. Hogan grew up in Connecticut and now resides in Augusta, Maine.

Jeremiah Ariaz received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from the State University of New York at Buffalo. His photographs examine the constructs of American identity within personal, community, and political contexts. His photographs have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally.  

For his most recently completed project Louisiana Trail Riders, he was the recipient of an ATLAS grant, the Michael P. Smith Award for Documentary Photography from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the 2018 South Arts Finalist Prize and named the 2018 Louisiana State Fellow. The photographs have been exhibited nationally, and a monograph of the work is available from UL Press (2018). The book has been featured in the Paris Review, U.S. News and World Report, Oxford American, among other publications. 


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