By Eric Frederick, NC Local Newsletter Editor
Lyndsey Gilpin is the founder and EIC of Southerly, a Durham-based, regional independent media organization reporting on ecology, justice and culture in the South. She’s also a Senior Community Impact Fellow in the John S. Knight program at Stanford University, with a focus on information access in rural Southern communities of color, continuing the work she began in an initial JSK fellowship starting in 2020.
Gilpin has moved back to her hometown — Louisville, Kentucky — with her husband, who’s working a remote job based in Appalachia. It can be a challenge getting on her busy calendar, but she was gracious to share a half-hour on the phone with me this week to talk about what she’s learning through the fellowship and her work with Southerly. Here’s our chat, lightly edited for length and clarity:
Tell me about your initial JSK fellowship and the newsletter project you launched.
I wanted to focus on better ways to reach rural communities of color in the South, around environmental justice issues. And in our cohort there were people from all over the country doing similar work in urban areas and rural areas. Most of them were hyperlocal or state-based. And so we really dug in and collaborated with each other, giving feedback and kind of learning how to design systems that can help us create space for people to tell us what they need, and also learn from them and design projects that are centered on what community members need, and want, and would serve them better than how journalism traditionally serves them.