We’re Investing in the Next Generation of Rural Media Makers

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Despair comes a little easier in times like these. 

That’s an odd message for a fundraising note, I know. But I expect you might be able to relate. It’s not hard to become overwhelmed by concern. For our communities, the health of those we love, the natural world, our democracy. The list goes on. 

Whatever the concerns, it’s essential to find pockets of hope and reasons for gratitude. It’s how we make it through. 

For me, an essential source of both hope and gratitude in recent days has been the Daily Yonder’s Rural Reporting Fellows. We started this program about a year ago. It’s been our effort to offer a hand up to young professionals, jump starting the next generation of rural media makers.  

I’m able to do this work today because of some folks who took a chance on me when I was a college student and a recent grad. More than anything else, it was internship and fellowship experiences that helped me find my way. 

Now I’m proud to be helping pay it forward. I look at the important work our fellows have been doing — both at the Yonder as well as all the impressive places they’ve gone afterward — and it makes me feel a little bit better about a future and a world that I can’t control.

We’ve been able to get this fellowship program going because of the support of our readers, our allies, and all the other people who believe in us. Without the success you’ve helped make possible we wouldn’t be able to invest in the next generation in this way. 

I think I knew from a very young age that this is the kind of work I wanted to do “when I grew up.” But at some point in the journey I came to believe that the only way to do it was to leave my hometown, because I’d only find the opportunities I craved elsewhere. My aspiration for our fellowship program is that we can show today’s rural young people, carrying their own sparks of inspiration, that they can indeed do this interesting, important, dynamic work, wherever they are.

How’s that for hope? As for gratitude, I look to you. Thank you for reading and listening and supporting the Yonder. Together, we make it through. 

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