WVU Reed College of Media receives Benedum grant to serve growing interest in rural culture

The West Virginia University Reed College of Media recently received a grant from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation that will help students gain valuable media skills while sharing the stories of Appalachia.

The grant, worth $97,000, will support a media enterprise that experiments in new distribution models for digital publishing while offering a solutions-based approach for reporting and cultural analysis of 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.

In addition to being a teaching tool, the project will strengthen collaborative publishing opportunities connecting national and regional media with community organizations and the College of Media.

“There is a need in West Virginia communities to create new narratives about their reality and their future,” said Dana Coester, creative director of the WVU Media Innovation Center. “With this project, we hope to provide an outlet, and an audience, for those stories.”

The project will also meet the need for a growing national and international audience for rural content, insights and analysis in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election.

The media enterprise will build on “100 Days in Appalachia,” which was launched in January 2017 and narrates President Trump’s first 100 Days in office from a unique Appalachian point of view and how policy decisions may impact Appalachia’s communities.

The College partnered with West Virginia Public Broadcasting and The Daily Yonder on “100 Days in Appalachia.” They plan to continue the partnership into the fall.

The grant was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University, which runs through December 31.

April 12, 2017