“She is hard-nosed and soft-hearted,” Al Cross, the Director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues told Poynter. Cross is a professor, a lifelong Kentucky journalist and an advocate for rural journalism. Poynter heard about The Adair Community Voice’s reporting on opioids from Cross’s widely regarded Rural Blog. Cross said that in his more than 40 years of Kentucky journalism experience, he has never seen anything like the work that Burton is doing for her community.
“Weeklies don’t like to cover this topic — it reflects poorly on the community,” Cross explained. “When they cover stuff like this it is only from a criminal justice point of view. It is a health story. It’s a community well-being story. It is the kind of thing communities ought to work together to solve.”
Cross said that when news organizations only cover addictions when a case comes to court, it stigmatizes the issue.
“Community newspapers need to step up … to bring awareness to the problems, not sweep them under the rug,” he said.
“This is the elephant in the room. It is here and it is something we have to, we will discuss,” she said. “For people who are thinking, ‘Hey, you are writing a bunch of negative stuff about our town,’ I say it is because we love our town.”
Burton said the notion that small-town advertisers won’t buy ads in a newspaper that covers controversy isn’t true. “We do real news because people want real news,”
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2019/this-kentucky-weekly-isnt-shying-away-from-covering-its-countys-shocking-drug-problem/