Background image of Two women on horseback in a rural setting, one wearing a white cowboy hat and holding a microphone

Rural Reporting Fellowship

Voices rising from communities on the frontlines of climate change carry the evidence and emotion to call others to action. But what happens if no one is there to make those voices heard?

We are now accepting applications for the 2020 Rural Reporting Fellowship. Please download the RFP for more information about the fellowship and details for how to apply. Submissions due by December 15, 2019.

Now in its second year, the Rural Reporting Fellowship is a yearlong fellowship 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.


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. 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.

Learn more about the 2019 Rural Reporting Fellow, Ashley Ahearn, and read her stories in her home paper, the Methow Valley News.

On October 23, Ashley and Methow Valley News publisher and editor Don Nelson hosted a special online event, “The View from Here,” in conversation about reporting on the environment from and for rural, western communities. Listen to the recorded version of their conversation:

Photo caption: Journalist Ashley Ahearn (left) on the level with a fellow horsewoman during a recent interview. Photo credit: Megan Farmer