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WVU’s experimental journalism project focused on Appalachia reaches international milestone

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Since its launch in January, the West Virginia University Reed College of Media’s digital publication, “100 Days in Appalachia,” has earned a reputation among national media as a “go-to” source for stories about the challenges and hopes of Appalachia during President Donald Trump’s administration.  

Now, the start-up publication is gaining an international audience. One of the United Kingdom’s top newspapers, The Guardian, recently co-published an article with “100 Days” detailing how the social media site “Reddit” has become a lifeline for opioid addicts in the region. The story trended quickly after it was published, receiving more than 15,000 hits in the first few hours.

“The opportunity to co-publish an article with an internationally recognized newspaper like The Guardian demonstrates that the public’s fascination with Appalachia in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election has spread far beyond our borders,” said Dean Maryanne Reed. “It’s  exciting to know that our start-up publication is helping to bring these important issues to light.”

In recent months, there has been a strong interest in “100 Days” from journalists around the country — and now the world.  It has been featured in top publications focused on journalism including the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, Columbia Journalism Review and Harvard University’s Niemanlab.

“100 Days in Appalachia” is a partnership between the College of Media, West Virginia Public Broadcasting and The Daily Yonder.  It was designed to burst the partisan filter bubbles on social media and to candidly narrate the first 100 days of the new presidential administration from within the heart of our region.

The project includes a mix of content — news stories, multimedia features and opinion pieces — produced by faculty, professionals and thought leaders. Students have the unique opportunity to work alongside professionals in a real digital newsroom environment while learning the in-demand skills of audience building, curation, distribution and monetization.

In the past six months, the project has grown a larger following than expected. As a result, the College is expanding the experiment beyond 100 days, supported by a $97,000 grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. The project will look at distribution models for digital publishing while offering a solutions-based approach for reporting on the challenges facing the region. Students enrolled in the fall 2017 course will get hands-on experience in content curation, monetization, audience development and distribution, and in-depth reporting. 

-WVU- 

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CONTACT: Christa Currey, Communications Director, Reed College of Media, West Virginia University
304.293.7016, christa.currey@mail.wvu.edu

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