Zoom out and fear not

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The reality of journalism, and media in general, is that we live in a world that is more accessible than ever but our reach is no longer as potent. What you see on social media (where people often get their news) may be completely different from what your grandmother sees when she pulls up Facebook to see what the kids are doing these days.

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Photo Credit Harry McRoberts (used with permission). While working for PCN I did not get a haircut for 10 straight weeks resulting in the longest hair I have had since freshmen year of college.

Entrepreneurial journalism must now focus more than ever on breaking through the noise to reach its audience. We used to watch the nightly news to understand the world around us but people are now using Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media to live stream the events in real time. According to Carlo De Marchis, this is a prime example of the ever-changing playing field.

Adaptability, relevancy, and individualism seem to be the keys to the kingdom. People want news that is relevant – updating in real time – on apps that are tech-savvy in a way that makes it feel personal. Unsurprisingly this makes the media business an unsavory prospective industry.

While I agree that the media business is hard to break into, I have also seen another side. Working this summer at the Potter County news made me realize that media jobs are plentiful where you would least expect it.

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Photo credit Molly McRoberts (used with permission). Our family photo sits on my bedside table and I treasure it immensely. 

For example, the paper I worked on has well over 1,000 subscribers. The newspaper, while lacking much of the hard news found in famous publications like the New York Times, still covers the hard topics. With splashes of kids and soft news to make the rough stuff easier to swallow, the Potter County News manages to produce a paper that is financially viable for the foreseeable future.

Granted working in rural communities isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Plenty of people want to work at big name media production companies creating content that will be viewed by millions of people. However entering an environment already saturated by the cream of the crop isn’t always feasible for fresh college graduates. That’s where rural community newspapers can become a steppingstone to greater employment opportunities.

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The Gary McCloud Bull Ride. All I could think was ‘run cowboy run!’ 

My point is that entrepreneurial media looks terrifying if you only look at certain demographics. Zooming out and seeing the bigger picture indicates there may be more opportunities to reach beyond the noise in communities that are smaller, where the paper is less about notoriety and more about interconnectedness.

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Photo credit Molly McRoberts (used with permission). This photo was taken at the Half Ass Ranch, my favorite after Rotary spot in town. The man behind me is Don Hericks one of the kindest men in town. His mules April, May, and Pete are trained as a team for parades and such through town. 

 

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