Journalists Discuss Covering COVID-19 in Rural America

An analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds the COVID-19 growth rate is now higher in rural areas than in metropolitan areas.

“COVID-19 took longer to hit rural areas,” said Carrie Henning-Smith, deputy director of the U of M Rural Health Research Center and School of Public Health assistant professor. “We first heard a lot about it in Seattle and New York and New Jersey and New Orleans. That’s no longer true.” 

Henning-Smith’s comments were included in an Alexandria Echo Press article on the rise of COVID-19 in rural areas.

The Daily Yonder, a news site covering issues in rural America, recently convened a panel of three national journalists who have been covering COVID-19 in the Midwest and other parts of the country for their perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on small towns and rural areas. One of the journalists is April Simpson, the rural issues reporter at Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Last year, National Media Relations Consultant Brad Robideau had the pleasure of meeting Simpson in Washington, DC for a deskside visit, and it was great to see that one of her stories on the economic fallout from COVID-19 in rural America quotes Arne Kildegaard, professor and chair of the Social Science Division on the Morris campus.

You can view the panel discussion here. It’s worth a look for some interesting insights on how journalists report on COVID-19 in rural America. As always, we welcome your thoughts and stories on the ways the U of M is addressing this critical concern in communities across our state.

If you have experts who can speak to COVID-19 or other topics of national interest, please contact Brad Robideau at