In the winter term of 2023, Andrew DeVigal’s Engaged Journalism class conducted a study to survey the Rogue Valley’s information ecosystem and its residents’ information needs and assets. This report summarizes the study findings and provides recommendations to address the gap in the existing information landscape.
The study found that Rogue Valley residents are keenly interested in news and information about local events, businesses, and government activities. However, they often face challenges in accessing such information because information is often scattered across various sources, and a centralized platform for local news is lacking. To address these issues, the study suggests that local news providers collaborate to establish a more unified and easily accessible information hub, consolidating the diverse resources available in the Rogue Valley media ecosystem. This collaboration might involve sharing content, pooling resources, and creating a joint platform for local news.
In summary, the study underscores the significance of local news and information in nurturing a vibrant and engaged community. By working together to construct a more user-friendly and centralized information system, local news sources can better cater to the needs of Rogue Valley residents and contribute to strengthening the community as a whole.
Acknowledgments: The authors thank the residents of Rogue Valley, Southern Oregon University, Jefferson Public Radio, Ashland.news, and Jackson County Library for their partnership and contributions to this study. We sincerely appreciate the community members who participated in discussions and surveys. This report represents original student work and recommendations from the University of Oregon’s Engaged Journalism course.
Professor’s note: To spread awareness of the information needs assessment survey reported here, we partnered with local organizations, including Southern Oregon University, Jefferson Public Radio, Ashland.news, and Jackson County Library. While this outreach likely improved response rates, it also likely contributed to uneven response rates around the Rogue Valley.