Accessible Content for Rural Audiences

Three million Americans live in a county without a news source. These communities are predominantly rural, and the significant drop in local news stories is correlated to decreased voter participation. COURIER has stepped into this void by offering innovative, pro-democracy news that increases civic engagement. By prioritizing factual, local coverage and elevating rural stories, COURIER is building trust in rural communities and changing the landscape of rural media.

With ten state digital news outlets, COURIER provides low-propensity voters and people who rarely seek out the news with factual information that counteracts the damaging effects of disinformation. COURIER’s audiences learn about local issues including school board races, new federally supported broadband projects, and clean energy projects. In 2023, COURIER’s Cardinal and Pine won seven awards from the North Carolina Press Association, including Best Multimedia Reporting for their coverage of LGBT pride in rural Moore County. RDI pitched a story about Mayor Mondale Robinson’s vision for Black leadership, racial equity, and economic development in a small city, leading to a moving video and article that won Best Multimedia Journalism Project.

With RDI's support, COURIER is growing and adapting its reporting for rural audiences. They are reaching new people with graphics and videos on TikTok and Instagram, adding a Texas newsroom, and developing national content that shines a light on threats to democracy. With a rapidly growing subscriber base of 1.8 million people, COURIER’s success shows that it’s possible to create both highly accessible content and meaningful news.