Creative Health Communications in Tennessee

When it was clear that the COVID-19 pandemic was continuing into 2021, Well Connected Communities program assistant Susan Holloway was looking for new outreach methods in her community of Jackson, Tennessee. The local crime newspaper, CrimeSEENExaminerNews, was also looking for ways to upgrade its publication with new and different articles. Holloway suggested that she could make contributions around the “crime” of health inequity and partnership was born.

CrimeSEENExaminerNews features local crime, community, health, education, social, sports, entertainment, political news, as well as classifieds, and legal notices. The paper is distributed to several counties in West Tennessee including Madison, Gibson, Crockett, Haywood, which are home to nearly 179,000 residents. Among them are the residents of Denmark and East Jackson, which the University of Tennessee – Tennessee State University Well Connected Communities program specifically wants to reach.

Each Thursday, more than 18,000 printed copies of the paper are distributed throughout the area, including racks at Dollar General and Walgreen stores. Without fail, they are quickly snapped up.  (Holloway says that the newspaper is so popular that straggler copies can only be found through the weekend in the north of the county.) A PDF edition is also made available online on Wednesday evening before the papers go out. 

Holloway was introduced as a contributing writer to CrimeSEENExaminerNews in January 2021 with a monthly column entitled, “It’s a Crime to Be Unhealthy!” Her first column introduced Well Connected Communities and urged residents to get their yearly wellness visit. Holloway provided information about ways to do this with or without insurance and different facilities that provide the check-ups. She also reminded readers that Emergency Room care is among the most expensive. The article was so popular that it had over 600 hits in four hours. According to the newspaper, this is an unprecedented response to a single article. In February, Holloway suggested nutritionally and financially healthy meal options to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Holloway will be contributing to CrimeSEENExaminerNews for a total of ten months. Check out the January and February issues that feature her contributions.