Role of rural community journalist
The rural community journalist plays a critical role in rural areas by performing the basic functions of information, education, and entertainment through rural community newspaper. Community newspapers are not just sources of information; they are a critical component in rural development. This fact should be noted by a rural community journalist while doing his job. The rural journalist’s basic task is to identify important issues and news in the community and inform rural dwellers of these issues. This includes people in the city interested in the community and would want to keep in touch with the rural area through local media reports.
The rural community journalist specifically performs the following tasks;
Basic role of Information, education, and entertainment; the rural community journalist ensures that local readers are kept informed by writing stories on happenings within and beyond the community.
Ensure accountability; the journalist provides investigative reports on those in authority to ensure they are doing what they were elected or appointed to do, as it relates to rural areas. This is saying that the rural journalist plays the watchdog role at rural level through a community newspaper.
Fight battles for community; the rural community journalist fights battles for the community through advocacy journalism. The journalist is a part of the community. He identifies with the local people and knows what they need from government. He advocates on their behalf through his writings and investigative reporting.
Give community a voice; The journalist gives the community a voice through numerous interviews conducted with opinion leaders and other people, where they air their views on specific issues. Residents of rural areas do not always get such opportunity in city newspapers.
Tell stories that impact the lives of rural dwellers; the rural journalist’s reporting is purposefully focused on improving the lives of rural dwellers. The journalist strives to write stories that impact positively on the community. This is why development news reporting is the bedrock of rural community journalism.
Set agenda; the rural journalist writes stories on issues that leave the readers with much to discuss. For instance, by frequently mentioning where government needs to improve on facilities in rural areas, the rural journalist could set agenda for discussion in rural and urban settings.
Interpret the news; this is a vital role of the rural journalist. You tell the rural dwellers implications of newsbreaks around the country and beyond on their lives and activities. Local readers need to understand how several events happening in cities and all over the world concern them. Knowledge of interpretative reporting skills is one of the special requirements for successful rural journalism.
Bridge information gap between urban and rural dwellers; you should keep the local readers abreast of activities breaking in their community and beyond. City-based media organizations pay little attention to information needs of the rural readers. The rural journalist fills this gap created in rural news coverage by urban area-based publications through engaging and purposeful reporting.
The functions of the rural community journalist are many. Just a few are listed here. The basic roles of the journalist are stepped down to rural areas by the rural community journalist. The rural journalist feels the pulse of local people and reports to give them identity in the society, attract government attention to their development needs, mobilize them to engage in participatory development, create awareness on emerging issues or developments in the society, educate them on political, cultural, religious, social, and such other trends that impact their lives, and provide opportunity for participatory journalism where the readers make meaningful contributions to media content through, interviews, opinion articles, letters to the editor, or commentaries.