Weary of the influx of bus tours and parachuting journalists seeking insights into rural America, we launched 100 Days to counter the type of reporting that had reduced our region to a handful of narrow stories.
Appalachia is more than coal fields and country roads. It is a large, complex region comprising 13 states and 25 million people. It features urban centers and suburban counties that contain diverse stories from the Black Belt to the Rust Belt. 100 Days is designed to share these stories with a global audience as we cover the complicated landscape of American politics through the prism of Appalachia. We work with local voices to apply a cultural lens to what’s happening in our backyards and share what that means for the rest of the world.
We are assertive about why our reporting and our voice matters, and why the cost of getting that wrong has in part led to where we are as a divided nation. While the world has been busy asking what a Trump presidency tells us about the state of our nation, we’re asking: What does Appalachia tell us?
To get it right, we partner with regional media, independent journalists, and communities across Appalachia to launch conversations and produce reporting that can bridge cultural and political divides. Instead of Appalachia being the subject of someone else’s story, Appalachians are the authors of these stories. We believe that when members of communities hear their voices, recognize their realities, and are instrumental in how stories are framed for the rest of the world, trust can be rebuilt in homegrown news.
The project also experiments with new forms of community engagement, audience building, and revenue generation to help explore sustainability models on behalf of our media partners.
In an effort to amplify missing voices and unique perspectives from Appalachia, we have an open-source, co-publishing model and share content with regional, national, and international media organizations. One of the benefits of our initiative is in our reporting and co-publishing collaborations that help strengthen the local ecosystem of news and distribute local voices and content to the rest of the world. They enable small newsrooms to pool resources, talent, and expertise to tackle complex reporting projects. Our partnership with Politifact allowed us to distribute important fact-checking stories to our readers to help inform voters in the midterm elections year.