Today, we’re headed to Vermont to hear stories about extraordinary rural communities throughout the US.

Austin Danforth is the chief storyteller in charge at the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI), not that he would call himself that. But I definitely do.

Austin is putting his prior career as a sports reporter and photographer to use to reshape the narrative around tech ecosystems, innovation, and entrepreneurship in rural America.

Austin and the team at CORI have produced the incredible video series The Rural Edge, as well as community case studies, reports, and tools that I, personally, have found super useful in my own work developing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Shenandoah Valley.

Naturally, I wanted to get Austin on the show to share with us how CORI does what they do, and how they do it so well. He’s spilling the beans on the process of developing stories, how it differs from his life as a journalist, and how and why CORI has committed funding and resources to telling these vital stories.

Austin Danforth is a native Vermonter who spent more than a decade as a sportswriter and photographer before jumping into nonprofit communications with the Center on Rural Innovation. He’s an avid storyteller and connection-maker who loves to experience new places and figure out what makes them tick.

Click here to listen to this episode on your favorite podcast player!

Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How Austin thinks about shaping narratives and making CORI’s work meaningful and accessible 
  • Why it’s been vital for CORI to partner with funders who believe in their mission to change the narrative about rural entrepreneurship
  • The tightrope walk between audience and engagement in storytelling
  • How Austin and CORI think about metrics and return on investment for storytelling work

Learn More About Austin Danforth:

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