100 Days in Appalachia, a media outlet incubated at the West Virginia University Reed College of Media’s Media Innovation Center, was the only newsroom in West Virginia selected for a grant from the Facebook Journalism Project (FJP) to support local coverage of COVID-19.
Launched in January 2017 to combat Appalachian stereotypes depicted during 2016 election coverage, 100 Days is a nonprofit digital newsroom that has an open-source, co-publishing model and shares content from Appalachia’s diverse communities with regional, national and international media organizations. Its news is reported by journalists and community members living in Appalachia, and it also serves as a teaching platform that experiments with new community engagement and storytelling techniques.
The COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program will provide $75,000 for increased freelance coverage of the global pandemic’s impact on Appalachian communities. It will also support the Report For America fellow who will work for 100 Days beginning this June, fund a weekly newsletter that will highlight coverage of COVID-19 and sponsor a student journalist’s work in covering the fallout from COVID-19 over the next year in Appalachia.
100 Days was among 144 local newsrooms selected from 2,000 applicants that included newsrooms in every U.S. state, all U.S. territories and Washington, D.C. Recipients were selected through a process led by the Local Media Association (LMA) and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, with contributions from the Institute for Nonprofit News, Local Independent Online News Publishers, Local Media Consortium and the National Association of Broadcasters.
“We’re grateful for the groundswell of support for small local newsrooms that enables us to serve communities across the region, including the independent journalists in Appalachia who work for 100 Days,” said Dana Coester, associate professor and executive editor of 100 Days. “Community journalists are essential workers and this support helps us keep them on the job, continuing to serve our region.”
According to the FJP announcement, the COVID-19 Local News Relief Fund Grant Program aims to support publishers hardest hit by this crisis, and nearly 40 percent of recipients are digitally native publishers and over a third are nonprofits. Since the pandemic began, FJP has partnered with the LMA and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism to award more than 600 grants across the U.S. and Canada as part of Facebook’s global initiative to invest $100 million in news.
To view the full list of winning newsrooms, visit https://www.facebook.com/journalismproject/programs/grants/coronavirus-local-news-relief-fund-recipients.