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KOSU newsroom to expand agriculture and rural coverage

Chelsea Stanfield / KOSU

KOSU, Oklahoma’s flagship NPR station, is hiring an additional agriculture and rural issues reporter to increase coverage of water issues in rural Oklahoma.

“In our conversations in rural Oklahoma, water is the issue that comes up more frequently than any other,” said KOSU executive director Rachel Hubbard. “Whether it’s quality or quantity, people want to know more about their water. This position will help us start to answer those questions.”

The position will be partially funded with $20,000 in seed funding from Report for America, a national service program aimed at increasing reporting on under-covered issues and communities. The new reporter will work in tandem with KOSU’s Seth Bodine, also a Report for America corps member. Together, they will help to highlight Oklahoma voices and combat the spread of news deserts in rural parts of the state.

The new reporter will contribute to Harvest Public Media, which reports on food systems, agriculture and rural issues, allowing their work to be heard on radio stations in nine states. The reporter will also collaborate on environmental coverage as part of the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk.

KOSU is among 325 newsrooms in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands to receive the Report for America funding in 2022.

“Yes, local news is in crisis—but this batch of newsrooms also fills us with tremendous hope,” said Steven Waldman, president and co-founder of Report for America. “Newsrooms across the country are pushing to cover essential local beats like schools and rural areas, at the same time they try to better represent all of the people in their communities.”

KOSU is currently raising funds to fully fund this position. For anyone interested in contributing, please contact Jenny Mae Harms at 405-744-9974 or e-mail development@kosu.org.

The position is slated to be filled by June 2022, following a competitive selection process through Report for America. Application submissions are open through January 31 at reportforamerica.org.

KOSU is a public radio service of Oklahoma State University and a member station of National Public Radio. Its programming can be heard by more than 91,000 on-air listeners every week in central, northern and northeastern Oklahoma, parts of Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas and worldwide at kosu.org.

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