Student-driven Eudora Times keeps Kansas town from being a news desert

Reporter Nicole Asbury interviews Eudora School Board members after the announcement of a new superintendent. (Cameron Bopp/MEDILL)

By Cameron Bopp and Emilie Zuhowski
Medill Reports

EUDORA, Kansas — For several years, residents of Eudora, a town of about 6,000 people, were left without consistent local news coverage. The small town lost its local newspaper in 2009, but at the University of Kansas (a 15-minute drive from Eudora), several journalism students and their professor brought local news back. In 2019, journalism professor Teri Finneman took on the responsibility of creating an online publication for the town, asking her students to be the town’s sole reporters.

The Eudora Times covers a range of issues the town cares about the most. Lucie Krisman covers infrastructure and city commission, and Chris Fortune covers religion and sports. Cami Koons is the feature reporter, and Nicole Asbury covers education. One of the Eudora Times’ biggest stories was the election of the new superintendent for the school district, and Asbury followed this story for weeks, profiling the candidates to filing the school board’s final decision.

The team juggles being full-time students and reporters, and many of them have other jobs. Although the Eudora Times has made strides, it still faces challenges. It does not have enough funding to stay open all year, leaving the town without news coverage during the summer months and school breaks.

Cameron Bopp is a video and broadcast reporter at Medill. You can follow him on Twitter @CameronReedBopp. Emilie Zuhowski is a video and broadcast reporter at Medill. You can follow her on Twitter @EmilieZuhowski.