West Virginia and Central Appalachia have some of the worst health statistics in the country, but almost no reporters devoted to covering health.
We obtained foundation support to hire a full-time health reporter to produce weekly features and short pieces on the health issues most crucial to our region: insurance coverage, addiction, obesity, etc. She tells these stories always with a view toward causes and possible solutions.
We distribute these stories for free to public media outlets throughout the region, as well as newspapers in West Virginia. Several have been picked up by national outlets.
This is not the first such project in the country – in fact, there are several in and out of public media. But it is something that is easily replicated. If we can do it in rural, low-income West Virginia, any station can.