We’re Just Getting Started
With an appeal for financial support.
Below, Bill Bishop, who co-founded the Daily Yonder with Julie Ardery in 2007, tells you why we started, what we’ve accomplished, and what remains to be done.
Please help the Daily Yonder expand its unique role as the nation’s news site devoted exclusively to rural writ large. Make a tax-deductible gift today.
Dear Friend of the Daily Yonder,
In early 2007 it was all starting again. The presidential candidates were making their trips to Iowa and New Hampshire. And although these states were constantly described as “rural” there was hardly anything rural
about the campaign. Outside a required pledge of allegiance to ethanol and a few hay bales (always square) at campaign events, there was nothing remotely rural about what these would-be presidents were saying.
I remember talking with Dee Davis and Tim Marema about how we needed a news site on the web that would push real rural concerns in front of the candidates. They thought that was a good idea. So we —Julie Ardery, Tim, Shawn Poynter and me — started The Daily Yonder.
Now it’s ten years and three presidential campaigns later. And if success is measured by showing up, then the Yonder has succeeded wildly. Every weekday for the past ten years the Yonder has posted a story about — and mostly by — rural people. Richard Oswald has provided the nation’s best writing on ag monopolies and farm state politics from his home in Langdon, Missouri. Roberto Gallardo, Craig Settles and others have been relentless in their reporting on rural broadband. And we’ve reported on the widening gap between rural and urban voters since 2008. Without the Yonder, none of this would have happened.
Have we changed the world? Sorry, not yet. I can report that the Yonder has changed my life. Four years ago, Julie and I sold our house in a fashionably hip part of downtown Austin, Texas, and soon moved to La Grange, a town of 4,700 on the Texas prairie. We traded every empty urban amenity known in the early 21st Century for polka music, cattle trailers on Main Street and a community that can only be found in a small town.
I talk to reporters – at Bloomberg, NPR, CBS, the Post, the Times – and they all tell me they read the Yonder. I can see it in their stories. The Yonder is shaping the way people think about rural. Yesterday I heard from a guy who lives in Western North Carolina. His local hospital was closing its obstetrics wing. Women would now have to drive more than an hour to Asheville for care. He looked for information on rural hospitals and health care in the Yonder and found it. He wrote to thank our writers.
Maybe change comes at that pace. A person or two at a time. Ten years? We’re just getting started.
Join us in honoring Bill’s contribution to rural journalism with a tax-deductible gift to the Daily Yonder, published by the nonprofit and nonpartisan Center for Rural Strategies.