Today, 73 percent of all internet publishing jobs are concentrated in coastal cities, resulting in fewer journalists personally connected to rural communities. In many of these communities, industries like ranching and forestry are key to economic survival, and are being directly impacted by the effects of climate change. Further, opportunities are being missed to center the voices of people with lived experience of injustice—including Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Despite popular depictions, people with these identities live in rural communities and have important stories to share. These are some of the most complex and important issues of our time — issues that are central to the work of Ecotrust — and rural voices are being given short shrift in coverage of those issues.
Ecotrust is countering this trend with the Rural Reporting Fellowship, economic support towards a year of reporting for a journalist living in and reporting on a rural community in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, or Alaska.
By providing economic support, the Rural Reporting Fellowship enables journalists who live in rural communities to tell stories that are truly of those communities and partner with the new outlet or outlets that can ensure this perspective is amplified.
The Rural Reporting Fellowship comes with “no strings attached” to the editorial content of the fellow’s storytelling. The aim is for stories that have deep local resonance. The result is stories with lessons for us all.
Our 2020 Fellow
Living and working in Sitka, Alaska, our 2020 Rural Reporting Fellow Bethany Goodrich explores the unique nature of rural Alaskan life, and the deep connections between Alaskans and the coastal temperate rainforest and waters they depend on. From accessing health services in remote villages, to reliable food and energy security, and the daily impacts of climate change, the stories of rural Alaskans striving to adapt and cope in a rapidly changing environment are many.
“These lands are my backyard, these characters are my friends and neighbors, these communities are my future.”
A freelance writer and photojournalist, Bethany’s stories will appear in publications throughout the state. Her previous work has appeared in publications including Edible Alaska and Anchorage Daily News, as well as multimedia storytelling efforts like the Salmon Project’s Salmon Life, and elsewhere. She also supports the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, of which Ecotrust is a member, as Communications Director.
She holds a masters degree in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management from the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment.
2019 | Ashley Ahearn, Methow Valley News
Based in Twisp, Wash., our inaugural Rural Reporting Fellow covered community-level perspectives of climate change, including the psychological, social, and environmental effects of wildfire.