100 Days in Appalachia is pleased to announce Christopher Jones will join our team as a member of the 2020 Report For America reporting corps.

Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. It is an initiative of the nonprofit news organization, The GroundTruth Project. 

Thursday marked the announcement of RFA’s 2020 cohort, made up of 225 journalists placed with 162 local newsrooms in 45 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico. This is the first RFA corps member to be placed within 100 Days.

Jones is a United States Marine Corps veteran, who served four years in the infantry and as a machine gun squad leader in Afghanistan, and previously as an EMT in Pittsburgh. 

Christopher Jones. Provided.

A freelance photojournalist based in Brooklyn, New York, since 2015 he’s covered the war in Afghanistan as well as political and breaking news coverage in the U.S. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and The Village Voice, and in 2019, he worked as a monthly contributor for Pacific Standard magazine.

For 100 Days, Jones will lead in-depth, data-focused investigations about issues rooted in the challenges of living in Appalachia. These investigations will shed light on vulnerabilities of the region, while focusing on potential solutions.

He will join the team based at the Reed College of Media’s Media Innovation Center in June. 

“The entire team at 100 Days is excited for the opportunity to welcome an experienced journalist and photojournalist with a unique perspective to our ranks,” Digital Managing Editor Ashton Marra said. “With roots in the region, Chris is returning to Appalachia to take on the type of in-depth, investigative work that the region so desperately needs.”

Of the 225 corps members announced Thursday, more than 40 percent are journalists of color, more than a quarter speak Spanish, more than three quarters are women and 5 are post-9/11 military veterans.

RFA leverages a unique funding match model, paying half of a corps member’s salary, while encouraging and supporting its local news partners to contribute one-quarter, and local and regional funders to contribute the final quarter. 

RFA aims to increase the size of its reporter corps each year— with a goal of 1,000 journalists by 2024. Its ability to scale the program is made possible by multi-year commitments from supporters like the Knight Foundation. 

Additional leading, current supporters include: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Natasha and Dirk Ziff; The Joyce Foundation; The David and Lucile Packard Foundation; Jonathan Logan Family Foundation; Craig Newmark Philanthropies; Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; Heising-Simons Foundation; Tow Foundation; Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation; Evelyn Y. Davis Foundation; LOR Foundation/Solutions Journalism Network; Galloway Family Foundation; Leon Levy Foundation; Inasmuch Foundation; Select Equity Group; Henry L. Kimelman Foundation; Annie E. Casey Foundation; Newman’s Own Foundation; Annenberg Foundation; Santa Fe Community Foundation; Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation; Further Forward Foundation; and McClatchy Foundation.

To learn more about Report for America and its efforts to strengthen communities through public service journalism, please visit ​www.reportforamerica.org.​ If you are interested in partnering with Report for America, please write to [email protected].

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This article was originally published by 100 Days in Appalachia, a nonprofit, collaborative newsroom telling the complex stories of the region that deserve to be heard. Sign up for their weekly newsletter here.