A Student Newspaper Takes on Community Responsibilities

The Ball State Daily News has filled a local journalism gap.


‘When Gown Embraces Town’: Two Stories from Indiana

What is happening in the 'Middletown' of Muncie, and why it matters.


What Happened at Chautauqua, and Why It Matters

Friday, Aug. 12, an assailant rushed the stage at the Chautauqua Institution. He stabbed Salman Rushdie in the neck and abdomen. Rushdie was not the only victim in this attack.

Civic Life

A Southern City Shows How to Deal With the Past

This is how it looks when a community, its faith and civic organizations, and some of its leading citizens face difficult truths.


Three community leaders come together to tell the stories of American renewal in their towns.

What do Ajo, Arizona; Eastport, Maine; and Charleston, West Virginia have in common? The answer leads down a rural path.


What would it sound like if technology leaders took their social responsibilities seriously? Like this.

How can the people who invented digital mapping technology avoid worrying about writing the next chapter in the history of disinformation?


From your towns to our inbox, notes from South Dakota and North Carolina and more.

“Our Towns” Reader Response Roundup features film screening feedback, a unique effort to support libraries nationwide, and national perceptions being addressed at the local level.


They lost their local paper. So they created a new one--during the pandemic.

A local paper with a longer history than its home state suddenly shut its doors, for good, during the pandemic. How an entire community willed a new publication into existence--and avoided becoming one more American "news desert."


The Mysteries and Lessons of South Dakota

Small cities, potentially big lessons. What a state that is home to 800,000 people can demonstrate to the country as a whole.


The New York Editor with an 'Our Towns' Vision for the Country as a Whole

Few people outside the publishing world knew of Dan Frank. Many benefitted from his vision, and skill--including anyone visiting this site.

Local Institutions

Geo-Journalism Illustrates & Expands the Story

An interactive map of the Columbus, Ohio Library system illustrates the power of maps in reporting.

Civic Life

How to Reconnect Rural and Urban America

Some recent items worth noticing

Economic & Business Development

What Happens After the Election

What else is going on in the country, with less than two weeks in this consequential election season?

Leaders & Governance

The Media Learned Nothing From 2016

The press hasn't broken its most destructive habits when it comes to covering Donald Trump.


Books for This Moment

Read the story in The Atlantic here. Morning in Cleveland, Ohio, where Belt Publishing is based Henryck Sadura via Shutterstock The past weeks have of course meant economic devastation for small and local businesses of all sorts, as discussed here in an item about Erie. The pressures on local bookstores and publishers, and local newspapers and other news […]

Economic & Business Development

New Jobs, New Residents, and New Possibilities

Read the story in The Atlantic  here. crazybear via Shutterstock Here are news items and developments related to trends we’ve been covering in the recent “Our Towns” series, and elsewhere: The furniture business returns, and is looking for furniture-makers. In a series of dispatches from Danville, Virginia, and its environs, Deb Fallows and I talked about […]