This month, Grist and the Center for Rural Strategies awarded $100,000 to newsrooms and freelance journalists around the country to carry out rural reporting projects.

In April, Grist and the Center for Rural Strategies announced the launch of the Rural Newswire, a content-sharing service to support the rural U.S. news ecosystem. The Rural Newswire will help newsrooms that serve rural communities find and share stories that can be republished for free. As part of this project, the two organizations put out a national call for proposals to support reporting grants about rural America. The application process was open to both newsrooms and freelancers.

Because of huge interest in the grants, it was a competitive process: From the list of 200 applications from around the country, Grist and Rural Strategies were able to select 15 projects to fund. The funded projects are based in more than a dozen states and cover a wide range of topics such as health, energy, and political extremism.

Grantee projects are:

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  • Capital B’s Aallyah Wright will report on the digital divide in three Southern states.
  • Freelancer Anthony Payton will report on New Hampshire’s opioid crisis for the Granite State News Collaborative.
  • Freelancers Cameron Oglesby and Tatum Larsen will report on Black cultural preservation, and climate and economic resilience through regenerative agriculture and renewable energy in the rural South.
  • North Country Public Radio’s Emily Russell and freelancer Zach Hirsch will report on far-right extremism in upstate New York.
  • KYUK’s Emily Schwing will report on disaster recovery in rural Alaska.
  • Freelancer John McCracken will report on rural clean energy funding.
  • Independent journalist Jordan Gass-Poore’ will report on health insurance access for rural farmers in Texas.
  • Freelancer Lygia Navarro will report on long COVID among Latino communities in rural Washington for Palabra by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
  • Wyofile staff will report on reproductive health deserts in Wyoming.
  • The Standard Journal staff will report on dwindling volunteer firefighter forces in rural Pennsylvania.
  • Yanqi Xu, Evelyn Mejia, and Destiny Herbers of Flatwater Free Press will report on agricultural land ownership in Nebraska.
  • The Minnesota Reformer’s Madison McVan will report on migrant meatpacking workers in Minnesota.
  • Student reporters from Kent State University’s NewsLab will report on the aftermath of the train derailment disaster in East Palestine, Ohio.
  • The Moab Times-Independent’s Doug McMurdo and Sophia Fisher will report on land use, zoning, and housing in rural Utah.
  • The Spokesman-Review staff will report on the rural-urban education gap in eastern Washington state.

Reporting will be published by the end of 2023. The Center for Rural Strategies and Grist will coordinate with grantees to give them the option to co-publish their stories and make the final articles available on the Rural Newswire site.

Grist is a nonprofit, independent media organization dedicated to telling stories of climate solutions and a just future.

The Center for Rural Strategies is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving economic and social conditions in the countryside through creative and innovative use of media and communications. The center is the publisher of the Daily Yonder, a leading national news  platform for news and information about rural people, places, and issues. 

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