Dakotafire is a new journalism project that pools the resources of community newspapers and rural experts to report on issues of importance to rural communities in the James River watershed area of North and South Dakota.
The project is intended to give you, the people of this region, a “big picture” view of the challenges you face — from the way past generations have addressed similar problems to the insights of experts who study these issues to the way others in the region and beyond are finding solutions — so you are better informed when you make decisions about the issues that affect your lives.
Dakotafire’s alliance of reporters and editors work together to produce in-depth, regionwide coverage of issues vital to the sustainability of the area’s rural communities. This alliance, which connects these journalists online, allows them to cover topics that they could not address as successfully alone.
As the project progresses, reporting will be done in a variety of formats, including traditional story forms, photo essays, interactive infographics and video. The results of this reporting are published online at Dakotafire.net and in a quarterly magazine distributed in the newspapers.
The “common voice” of Dakotafire is intended to help all the people of the region, which is similar in topography and population demographics but stretches over 22,000 square miles and crosses a state border, see one another as allies in facing common challenges and opportunities. The information Dakotafire provides is designed to spark discussion, to challenge conventional thinking and to get people to consider alternative possibilities. Dakotafire.net as well as its presence on Facebook and Twitter will serve as a conversation space for the region’s people.
Sparking rural revival is our goal,
and we intend to do it by igniting the power within you.
As part of the Knight Community Information Challenge, the three-year project has received $240,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and $60,000 from the South Dakota Community Foundation, with additional support coming from Dacotah Bank, other foundations, and corporate and individual sponsors. The project will be implemented by Dakotafire Media, LLC, a media company based in Frederick, S.D., owned by Heidi Marttila-Losure and Troy McQuillen.