COMMENTARY: Rural reporting project in Vale offers new opportunities, lessons

The call from California came with an offer.

Would the Malheur Enterprise be willing to work with a half-dozen journalism students and two professors from the University of Southern California’s journalism school?

The caller was Judy Muller, a veteran national television news correspondent. She now helps teach the next generation of journalists. And she’s written a book about small-town newspapers, so she knew how to talk my talk.

She explained that the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism (one of the most respected journalism schools in the country) runs a special project to get students into rural America to try their hand at reporting beyond urban areas. The idea was to drop into a rural area, partner with local journalists, report like mad, and go home with lessons learned.