In Era Of Shrinking Journalism, KOSU Hires Agriculture And Rural Issues Reporter For Oklahoma

KOSU, the public radio station licensed to Oklahoma State University, welcomes a new reporter to cover agriculture and rural issues. At a time when local journalism is reeling from years of newsroom cuts and unforeseen challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, KOSU is expanding its newsroom to be of better service to the Oklahoma community.

The reporter, Seth Bodine, comes to KOSU as a corps member for Report for America, a national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. It is an initiative of the nonprofit news organization The Groundtruth Project.

“At a time when so many people are looking for accurate information about where their food comes from, we are excited to be able to provide this service with the help of The Groundtruth Project and matching dollars from Oklahoma,” said Rachel Hubbard, executive director of KOSU.

Report for America leverages a unique funding match model, paying half of a corps member’s salary, while encouraging and supporting its local news partners to raise money for the other half.

“This is a leap of faith at a time when advertising dollars are shrinking for traditional media outlets, forcing them to furlough reporters,” Hubbard said. “However, we feel compelled to build the bridge between Oklahoma’s rural communities and food producers and the people who consume it. We believe providing this information is part of the land grant mission of Oklahoma State University.”

Seth Bodine

Bodine will join the Harvest Public Media collaborative, which reports on food systems, agriculture and rural issues. This will allow his work to be heard on radio stations in nine states and elevate the work of Oklahoma producers and experts.

“It’s so important to communicate accessible information about where we get our food,” Bodine said. “The urban-rural divide is real. It’s important to tell the stories that are happening in rural towns to make sure they get their stories told just like everyone else.”

Coming to KOSU from Columbia, Missouri, Bodine recently graduated with a master’s degree in journalism. He was chosen for KOSU’s Report for America position in a highly selective national competition that drew more than 1,800 applications.

While in Missouri, he covered agriculture, business and culture for KBIA, the NPR station in Columbia and the 2020 Missouri Legislature for the Missouri Broadcasters Association and KMOX-St. Louis. His work has been picked up by dozens of publications, including U.S. News and World Report, The Associated Press and The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.

“There is still time to contribute to this important work of telling Oklahoma’s story,” Hubbard said. “We have committed to one year with Report for America, but we hope to make covering agriculture and rural issues a permanent part of KOSU’s newsroom.”

Find out more about how to contribute here and see Bodine’s first story on Oklahoma’s wheat harvest here.

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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.

Report for America is a national service program that places talented emerging journalists in local news rooms to report on under-covered topics and communities. Launched in 2017 and donor-financed, Report for America is creating a new, sustainable system that provides Americans with the information they need to improve their communities, hold powerful institutions accountable, and rebuild trust in the media. Report for America is an initiative of The GroundTruth Project, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. GroundTruth is an award-winning nonprofit media organization with an established track record of training and supporting teams of emerging journalists around the world and in the U.S.

Harvest Public Media reports on food systems, agriculture and rural issues through a collaborative network of reporters and partner stations throughout the Midwest and Plains. Our goal is to provide in-depth and unbiased reporting on complex issues for a broad, diverse audience, often connecting the Heartland to the rest of the country. Primary topics of coverage include but are not limited to agribusiness, biofuels, climate change, farming and ranching, food safety, rural life and public policy.

Oklahoma State University is a modern land-grant university that prepares students for success. OSU has more than 34,000 students across its five-campus system and more than 24,000 on its combined Stillwater and Tulsa campuses, with students from all 50 states and around 100 nations. Established in 1890, Oklahoma State has graduated more than 275,000 students to serve the state of Oklahoma, the nation and the world.