Rural news tourism is a specialized kind of journalism that comes with benefits to the journalist, media house, and the society. It actually has almost the same benefits as rural news reporting since it is also a kind of rural journalism. However, these benefits are provided from a more exciting angle because of the tourism aspect of this kind of journalism. The benefits have been captured as follows;
Fosters rural development
Rural news tourism gives attention to activities in rural communities especially in the area of economy, politics, culture, health, education, etc. Such activities may not be popular because they are not given attention in regular journalism practice. Rural news tourism gives such issues intensive attention while also making them exciting stories. This helps to rediscover opportunities and potentials in the rural communities as a way of providing balanced and sustainable development through news reporting.
Serves as bridge between rural dwellers and the larger society
Rural news tourism provides platform for rural dwellers to make their opinions known to the public especially on matters that concern them. By reporting on news stories that are also tourist attractions, community members make their voices heard on the subject being reported. Since the reporter takes time to investigate the subject, views of various sources are heard on the matter and this provides a channel between rural community members and the larger society.
Promotes rural tourism
Through rural news tourism, people could make plans to visit specific communities based on interesting facts presented in the story. If a journalist writes an intriguing feature story on a rare cultural heritage in a community, people across the world could want to go to that community to witness the culture firsthand. This is one major way through which rural news tourism promotes tourism industry in rural areas.
Promotes rural news reporting
Rural news tourism is also a kind of rural news reporting. The focus of attention here is on developments in rural areas though not exactly on breaking news. The rural news reporter searches for uncommon developments in a specific rural community which in itself also serves as interesting attraction for tourists. The reporter might have to spend some days in the community just to get to the root of the subject of focus. This issue has to be unique since it is also a tourist attraction. It could be in the area of culture, rural economy, education, religion, among others. The end point is that rural based journalism is encouraged through such thorough investigation of unique developments in rural communities.
Makes news reporting exciting
This is an important feature that benefits the journalism profession. Many journalists are not willing to reside in rural areas and engage in in-depth reporting of issues in rural communities. It could be as a result of lack of social amenities and facilities in such areas, absence of ‘brown envelops’ and other forms of gratifications, lack of financial support in form of imprest for journalists to fund trips to rural areas, among others. This underscores the pertinence of rural news tourism as a way of encouraging journalists to enjoy working in rural areas because this kind of journalism combines intrigues, professionalism and fun in writing and reporting for the public. The journalism doubles as a tourist and a reporter. This makes the job exciting.
Encourages investigative reporting
Investigative reporting is the bedrock of rural news tourism. The success of this branch of specialized reporting is premised on thorough and in-depth investigation of issues and developments. It is not enough to report that a community has a sacred river that has historical attachment to the people’s tradition. The journalist covering such story will go the extra mile in finding out more about the river, what makes it unique, its traditional attachment to the community, and possibility unique incidents that make the river special. This way, you are not just telling a story, you are telling the world that the river is an interesting tourist attraction to be seen firsthand.
Fosters professionalism in journalism
Rural news tourism focuses on social responsibility aspect of journalism. The journalist adheres to the tenets of professionalism in investigating and reporting stories. This is a rural community; no one is expected to offer ‘brown envelop’ or any form of gratification before a story is reported. Anyone engaged in rural news tourism is practicing undiluted journalism of no strings attached, whether sentimental, political, or financial strings. It is a form of development communication with the sole aim of projecting rural communities to the world. The reporter focuses on stories that challenge traditional negative stereotypes associated with rural communities such as poverty, survival-type hand-to-mouth living, extreme health challenges, lack of ideas, near absence of innovative economic activities, and total hopelessness in the way people live in such areas. These are often the basic images portrayed in the media about rural areas but rural news tourism says the opposite. The rural news reporter projects interesting aspects of life in rural communities which draws attention of potential tourists to rural areas.