100 Days in Appalachia project starts important conversations

GRAFTON—100 Days in Appalachia would like to thank all the residents of Taylor County that showed up to help them with their ongoing project on Saturday morning. 

Those that did enjoyed some wonderful coffee and snacks at Espresso Yourself Coffee House, along with some wonderful conversation. 

100 Days in Appalachia is an independent, nonprofit news outlet incubated at the Media Innovation Center of West Virginia University Reed College of Media, in collaboration with West Virginia Public Broadcasting and The Daily Yonder of the Center for Rural Strategies in Kentucky.   

Representing 100 Days in Appalachia was staff member Jake Lynch and two WVU Students, Emily Martin, Graduate student and Alesandro Bernardi, Undergraduate student. 

Lynch is a journalist and community organizer that joined the team as a Democracy Fund-supported Community Engagement Editor, exploring creative ways to reengage people across Appalachia in local reporting about their communities, and to reimagine how that reporting can happen.

Of Saturday Lynch said, “Although it might be hard right away to see the impact of small events like that, I think they are critical steps toward making small communities across Appalachia feel that mainstream media, outside of great local papers like yours, is actually listening to them, and care what they have to say.”

Interviews on Saturday consisted of subjects sitting with one of the three facilitators and answering questions on national and local government. 

A few of the questions asked were, “Are you optimistic about the future of West Virginia, or worried?” and “Many people say the political climate today is dividing America.  Do you feel that happening in your local community?”

100 Days in Appalachia hopes that by writing and sharing information from these events, newsrooms and reporters in other places will take it as inspiration to try something similar. 

They feel that media, as a whole, needs to find sustainable, creative ways to engage with the local communities that they cover.  They hope that they can help drive that change by demonstrating simple and inexpensive ways to do just that.

If you would like to know more about 100 Days in Appalachia, please visit their web site at 100daysinappalachia.com.

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