How do we connect to underserved/underinformed communities?

Host:  Sandra Fish, Journalism Instructor, Journalism & Mass Communication, University of Colorado

Attending: Plenty of students from University of Denver, along with three South High students participated in the session.

What are we talking about when we talk about underserved/underinformed communities? Some said those who don’t have TV. Those who are rural. Impoverished communities that can’t afford to pay for media, especially Internet connections.

Some of those underinformed communities don’t see themselves in popular media coverage. Students from South noted that their school is rarely covered in Denver media except for sports. They said more affluent schools get more coverage in news pages.

The South students’ parents – mostly African – watch news on Ethiopian television, for example, because they’re more concerned with their home countries.

DU and South students noted that social media such as Facebook and Twitter are essential to learning about news. But they noted that they don’t always seek out news they might need to know – they get it from friends instead, and that may limit their exposure.

South students say they want to know things quickly, when they happen – and social media meets that need.

Some conclusions: Journalists need to show how news impacts underserved/underinformed communities in a real way. Nonprofit news outlet does a good job of this. Is there a way to create a student news corps in Colorado to serve rural or other underserved communities? DU students said they would like to participate in such an endeavor. Group leader Sandra Fish and DU professor Lynn Schofield Clark plan to discuss this idea in coming months.

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