Rural news tourism is a specialized kind of rural journalism which makes news gathering and writing exciting. Just like rural news reporting, rural news tourism is rural community oriented but the reporter doubles as a journalist and a tourist, making their job unique. Here are the features of rural news tourism which anyone who wishes to build a career in this specialized branch of journalism should know.
It is guided by regular news values
This means rural news tourism is just like every other kind of journalism particularly in terms of what makes news and how to write news. No matter the news gathering or writing approach you want to adopt to elicit emotions from the audience, the fact remains that the basic rules of journalism should guide your work.
It is rural community-oriented journalism
Rural news tourism is a kind of rural journalism and the basic focus of rural journalism is the community where a story emanated from. The reporter’s major interest is on how to project, protect and promote rural communities and their values. Stories are aimed at making life in rural areas better and this is what rural news tourism is all about. This form of journalism basically engages in advocacy for the rural community of focus, attracting attention to their known and unknown needs, including the positives that could attract tourists and other form of investments to the community. The reporter is often engaged in community-friendly stories as a result of which residents of the community welcome the investigation and in most cases, assist in guiding the reporter throughout the news gathering process.
It largely involves featurized news reporting
This is one of the unique features of rural news tourism. Because most of the stories are human interest reports, they come in featurized formats, having more space to express reality as it was witnessed by the reporter.
The reporter doubles as a tourist and a journalist
You have a dual personality as a tourist and journalist. This means you appreciate the incident or subject of your visit and at the same time remember to tell a captivating story from the experience. While in the rural community you should have this at the back of your mind. Whatever experience you get has to be shared with others through the media. So you have to always wear your journalistic consciousness every time you move so you don’t get carried away by the excitement and forget to document the details.
It involves investigative tourism
This is a combination of investigative journalism and tourism. It means you ask questions to get fact beyond what you are seeing. You don’t rush in and out of the story. While for instance, people are appreciating the beauty of a masquerade festival, you are searching for the origin of the festival, its impact on the community, specific cases that make the festival unique, among others. If it is a cultural practice that tourists visit the community to appreciate, you go beyond the glamour to find out whether it has negative consequences on girls, boys, women, or whoever is involved. This is another level of investigative journalism brought into the tourism environment.
The reporter spends time in the story environment
You don’t rush in and out of the location where the story is coming from. You may need to spend some time in the rural community or a place nearby so you can have enough time to do your investigation. As a tourist you can appreciate the tourist attraction in just one day but as a journalist you need more than one day to get used to the environment of investigation. This helps you navigate the terrain to effectively to get the right answers in the investigation.
It is development communication
The aim is always to disseminate information that will better the lives of rural dwellers and living conditions in rural communities. Rural news tourism promotes various aspects of development in areas of health, politics, culture, education, economic standard, education, among others.
Predominant use of observation source
Out of the three major sources of information (stored, personal and observation), the observation source is what rural news tourism thrives on. The stored source referred to secondary sources of news such as press releases, internet materials, written speeches, doctor’s report, and such documented materials. Personal source refers to interviews with news sources. Observation is where the reporter witnesses information first hand and this is the approach utilized the most in rural news tourism to make the story lively, robust and engaging. The other two sources are often combined with the observation in producing a well-researched report.
Soft news journalism
Rural news tourism produces predominantly soft news stories. These are featurized stories that provide lighter mood or human angle feelings from the audience. The stories do not raise tension like many hard news reports. Instead they relax the mind or give the audience no reason to get tensed up while consuming the report.
Basically human angle stories
Soft news stories from rural news tourism adventures often evoke emotions because they are mostly human angle stories. The emotions come in form of excitement as in unique culture exposed to the world, or sadness and empathy as in occurrences that involve some form of tragedy, injustice, inhuman treatment or helplessness.