100 Days in Appalachia, a media outlet currently incubated at the West Virginia University Reed College of Media’s Innovation Center, was one of 18 news organizations nationwide selected to participate in the Poynter Table Stakes Program.
The Table Stakes Program is a competitive local news program from the Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism education and research, that helps organizations build a culture of performance-driven change and achieve sustainable digital publishing. The 11-month program includes online group seminars, personalized coaching and peer network support to help newsrooms identify what they need to succeed in order to help them to evolve, reach new audiences and better engage their communities.
“The Table Stakes Program comes at an important transition time for 100 Days in Appalachia as the outlet departs the incubator phase and establishes itself as an independent, sustainable outlet within the Appalachian news ecosystem,” said Dana Coester, associate professor and editor in chief of 100 Days. “We're excited and grateful to collaborate with and learn from diverse outlets in this cohort of the program, each exploring different challenges and opportunities for the future of news.”
100 Days, which launched in 2017, is a fully digital newsroom with an open-source, co-publishing model. Its news is reported by journalists and community members living in Appalachia’s diverse communities and is shared with regional, national and international media organizations. 100 Days also serves as a teaching platform that experiments with new community engagement and storytelling techniques.
Members of the 100 Days Table Stakes team bring a variety of experiences and viewpoints to aid 100 Days in transitioning from the incubator phase at the College of Media to an independent news outlet within Appalachia. Team members include Coester; Ashton Marra, digital managing editor of 100 Days and a teaching assistant professor; Jesse Wright, a Mellon Foundation funded practitioner in residence; and Kristen Uppercue (BSJ, 2019), a graduate assistant and student in the College of Media’s Integrated Marketing Communications master’s degree program.
“Dana Coester’s original vision has guided 100 Days since it’s ideation and launch, and my work over the past two years has focused on the day-to-day work of both its editorial content and community engagement projects,” Marra said. “Jesse Wright has expertise from prior experience in the Table Stakes program, and Kristen Uppercue will inform decisions that will help attract a younger audience that will sustain us in the long term.”
Table Stakes was developed with the help of major metropolitan daily news organizations as part of the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative.