Local radio sees a place in staving off news deserts, too
News can be hard to find in smaller communities, where local newspapers are shrinking, and where regional TV stations rarely venture.
WCBU recently covered an online news nonprofit starting up in Kewanee, and a family-run community newspaper in Macomb as two models trying to take on the role of local news sources.
But Sean Kernan said not to count out local radio's role in keeping smaller communities informed on air and online. Kernan is news director at WKEI in Kewanee.
"We're coordinating our coverage in terms of news all over the place, in order to make sure news deserts in Illinois do not take hold because we're doing everything we can to cover local," he said.
With a team of two reporters, Kernan said his radio station and its web site are covering local news and sports throughout Henry and Stark counties.
"As much as people care about the national headlines, they care more about what's happening in their town, what's happening next door," he said.
A recent study from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government also sees radio as a potential solution. Specifically, public radio.
Tim Franklin, senior associate dean of the Medill School of Journalism and John M. Mutz chair in local news, said some other solutions for a struggling news industry could include new commercial models or tax incentives.