What is rural news?
Rural news refers to report about happenings, events, occurrences, people and all forms of timely information about rural areas. It is news about rural areas. A rural area is a community or collection of communities in the hinterland, or outside the cities, often with low density and poor infrastructures when compared with the city. The term ‘rural’ is used to refer to places outside the cities. They could be settlements, villages having identifiable agricultural practice or communities marked out by poor infrastructural development presence. In Nigeria for instance, when the term ‘rural area’ is mentioned the first thing that comes to mind is village setting with minimal development.
Rural news therefore refers to report on activities or occurrences in rural communities. It consists of reports on events, developments and happening in rural areas, or related to rural areas which are newsworthy. So when you report on an event or incident that probably took place in the city but has serious implications to rural dwellers or rural areas, that kind of story could also pass for rural news. The rural news reporter has an eye for news about rural areas or news that could impact on rural areas. He or she is not a rigid reporter who just waits in a rural community for local stories to break. If it means pursuing a rural story to the city you should do that. If for instance, contractors who have a contract to build schools in a rural community have suddenly abandoned the project the rural journalist could follow up the story by going to their office in the city to find out why the project was abandoned.
In this era of urban news reporting where journalists prefer to concentrate on reporting events that happen in cities, rural news reporting is taking a big hit. You hardly find a journalist who wants to be shuttling from the city where he or she resides, to the villages just to get rural news. Lack of incentives from media owners such as meaningful transport allowance to reporters, poor remuneration and welfare package, irregular payment of salary, brown envelope syndrome (people in rural areas are poor so getting tips from them is unlikely), poor infrastructures and social amenities (most journalists wouldn’t want to live in rural areas where there is no electric power, pipe borne water, good school for children, among others), and laziness on the part of journalists, are among factors that hinder the growth of rural journalism especially in developing countries.
Rural news could be interesting. Rural news most often breaks in rural areas so a serious rural news reporter should live in the rural area he or she is covering. Otherwise you find yourself having to shuttle regularly from the city to follow up news breaks in rural communities. Note that rural news leads can also emanate from the city. There could be instances where the traditional ruler of a rural community is in the city for an occasion; what he does there which affects his community could be reported as rural news. Hoodlums terrorizing a rural community could be arrested and paraded in the city by the police. The rural news reporter is always alert with eyes in the rural area and in some instances, in the cities too.
Sources of rural news are personal source: This refers to interviews with local news sources and personalities such as traditional rulers, religious leaders and other opinion leaders in the rural community, elected political office holders representing the rural community you are covering, including other politicians that are news makers, town union leaders, eyewitnesses and victims of incidents that happened in the rural community, among others. The personal source is a channel for getting primary information about rural areas.
Stored source: This refers secondary rural news sources which consist of documents that have relevance to rural news stories. They include doctor’s report on rural health incident, speeches by traditional rulers or other personalities containing information relevant in rural story writing, internet materials, books, petitions, media reports, and such other documents.
Observation source: This refers to events witnessed by the journalist. It is also a primary rural news source. The rural reporter observes an event by himself and reports on it.
Most rural news stories combine two or all three of these sources in order to come up with a rich piece.