Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media

two people holding a sign and smiling

The mission of the Huck Boyd National Center for Community Media, founded in 1990, is to serve and strengthen the local newspapers, broadcast stations and other media that play a key role in the survival and revitalization of America’s small towns and rural communities. It was named to honor McDill “Huck” Boyd, publisher of the Phillips County Review. Boyd was an active member of his community and he was a great believer in preserving small towns and small-town media.

Gloria Freeland, Kansas State University assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, has been director of the center since 1998.

The center sponsors the annual Huck Boyd Lecture in Community Media, which emphasizes the combination of communication and community. In recent years, the center has added a panel discussion as a follow-up to the lecture.

The center also works with the International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors on a paper competition, “Conversations in Community Journalism.” The winning paper is presented at the annual International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors’ summer convention.

Research related to community journalism is also conducted under the auspices of the center. The most-recent example was “A case study of a rural Hispanic newspaper in the Midwest,” conducted with an undergraduate researcher in the A.Q. Miller school. Another example of research included studying the development of a Community Media Center in Greensburg, Kansas, after a tornado destroyed a large part of the town.

Freeland is currently working on a project related to the sister-city relationship between Morganville, Kansas and Feves, France. Students in her spring 2013 News and Feature Writing class “re-discovered” the connection between the two villages that began in 1948. That year, Morganville citizens sponsored a pageant, complete with a historical play about their town, to help raise money for Feves, which had been heavily damaged during World War II. The towns maintained contact for several years, but the connection eventually faded because of distance and the language barrier. It was revived briefly in 1994, but then dwindled again until the students’ 2013 story was published in The Clay Center Dispatch. Other local and regional newspapers picked up on the story, and the resulting publicity helped revive the relationship. Since 2014, Freeland and her husband have traveled to France six times, one time accompanying the Morganville mayor and his wife. In fall 2015, a group of 20 people from Feves traveled to the U.S. and included visits to Manhattan and their sister-city Morganville.

For 20 years, the center sponsored the “Newspapers and Community-Building Symposium,” in conjunction with the National Newspaper Association’s annual convention.

The center also maintains close ties to the Kansas Press Association and the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, as well as other regional and national journalism organizations.