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Intersection - United and Divided: Stories on Bridging the Urban-Rural Divide

Kristofor Husted/KBIA

Today, we’re bringing you United and Divided, a series of stories on bridging the urban-rural divide. It's reported by Harvest Public Media.

In the wake of the 2016 presidential election one thing is clear: rural America and urban America see things differently. In this series of profiles, Harvest Public Media reporters introduce us to our fellow Americans and examine the issues that they hold dear. We re-discover the ties that bind us and learn more about the lines that divide us. And through these voices, we come to know Americans just a little bit better.

Reporters from Missouri, Colorado, Iowa and Nebraska explore topics causing rift in the country, and how those differences define the future. They looked at schools, religion, immigration and trade policy. 

  • Luke Runyon from KUNC in Colorado looked at illegal immigration, refugee resettlement and the lagging rural economy through the lens of a rural Colorado high school with a rapidly diversifying student body. 
  • Rural voters overwhelmingly chose Donald Trump in the presidential election. But when it comes to one central campaign promise, getting tough on trade, rural voters are not always in sync with the administration. Grant Gerlock from NET News went to a rural Nebraska town to understand voters' competing views on trade. 
  • Fleeing civil wars, gang violence and ethnic persecution, migrants and refugees have transformed some small Midwest communities. In big cities and rural areas alike, changing demographics can be stressful. But Amy Mayer from Iowa Public Radio reports that churches in one Iowa town have different ways of helping all residents navigate change. 
  • School in rural school districts often don't have the budget or the teachers to offer students all the courses they'd like to take. KBIA reporter Kristofor Husted visited on rural district in Missouri trying to fix that problem. 
  • Many immigrants in the U.S. are worried that changes to immigration policy pushed by the Trump Administration could impact their families -- that’s just as true in rural America as it is in cities. Harvest Public Media's Luke Runyon goes to a rural community and to the immigrants who want to become U.S. citizens.

Assistant producers for this show are Elena Rivera and Hannah Haynes. 


Sara Shahriari was the assistant news director at KBIA-FM, and she holds a master's degree from the Missouri School of Journalism. Sara hosted and was executive producer of the PRNDI award-winning weekly public affairs talk show Intersection. She also worked with many of KBIA’s talented student reporters and teaches an advanced radio reporting lab. She previously worked as a freelance journalist in Bolivia for six years, where she contributed print, radio and multimedia stories to outlets including Al Jazeera America, Bloomberg News, the Guardian, the Christian Science Monitor, Deutsche Welle and Indian Country Today. Sara’s work has focused on mental health, civic issues, women’s and children’s rights, policies affecting indigenous peoples and their lands and the environment. While earning her MA at the Missouri School of Journalism, Sara produced the weekly Spanish-language radio show Radio Adelante. Her work with the KBIA team has been recognized with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and PRNDI, among others, and she is a two-time recipient of funding from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.