100 Days in Appalachia is an independent, nonprofit news outlet incubated at the Media Innovation Center of West Virginia University Reed College of Media in collaboration with West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB) and The Daily Yonder of the Center for Rural Strategies in Kentucky. We have an open-source, co-publishing model and share content from Appalachia’s diverse communities with regional, national and international media organizations. Read more about 100 Days in Appalachia’s mission, funding and collaborating partners here.
MEET OUR STAFF
Dana Coester (@poetabook) is creative director and executive editor for 100 Days in Appalachia. Dana also serves as creative director for the WVU Media Innovation Center and leads the Center’s Knight-funded Innovators-in-Residence program. She is passionate about women in technology, privacy and social equity in emerging technology and new forms of documentary storytelling. Dana is currently directing a documentary film on Muslim identity in Appalachia with associate producers David Smith and Emily Pelland, which is excerpted in this publication as part of the 360° video series “Muslim in Appalachia.”
Gina Dahlia (@ginadahlia) is general manager for 100 Days in Appalachia. She is executive producer of WVU News, a National Emmy-award-winning student newscast at West Virginia University. Gina also serves as managing director for the WVU Media Innovation Center. Gina is also an award-winning filmmaker. Her documentary, “The Monongah Heroine,” aired on PBS in December 2007, receiving worldwide press. The film focuses on the widows left behind from the December 6, 1907, Monongah, West Virginia mine disaster. Gina‘s journalism career spans 20 years, where she has held many roles in the field. She has worked as a TV news anchor and reporter at a CBS affiliate and later as a weekly newspaper columnist, feature and business writer and restaurant critic. She also spearheaded the campaign of current U.S Senator Joe Manchin when he ran and won the office of West Virginia Secretary of State in 2001.
Bob Britten (@TheBobThe) leads the copy editing and curation team as part of a class in which students aggregate, curate, pitch and edit content for 100 Days in Appalachia. He has worked, studied and taught in journalism for sixteen years, beginning as a reporter for the Greenville (Pa.) Record-Argus and working as an editor, designer, art director and infographics reporter. He has been a faculty member at the WVU Reed College of Media since 2008, where he teaches courses in visual communication, blogging and social media and media law and ethics. Most recently, he designed and taught the college’s new course in sensor journalism. He makes beer and reads comic books.
Tyler Channell (@tylerchannell) is the web developer and a multimedia producer for the 100 Days in Appalachia project. He is a lecturer at the WVU Reed College of Media teaching video editing, visual journalism and serves as a multimedia specialist for the College’s Media Innovation Center. In 2015, he won multiple awards for his social justice film For Good, which was featured in the Accolade Global Film Competition. Before coming to WVU, Tyler worked in reality TV production for History Channel’s “Hatfields & McCoys: White Lightning” and “Billion Dollar Wreck,” Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0,” and MTV’s “Teen Mom 2.” He spends the majority of his time creating new videos and breaking code for 100 Days in Appalachia. Most recently, he created a republish WordPress plugin designed to make content more open source.
Ashton Marra (@ashtonmarra) is the digital managing editor of 100 Days in Appalachia, helping guide the work of our team of editors, contributors and reporters, as well as producing originally reported content. Ashton is a teaching assistant professor in the West Virginia University Reed College of Media. She spent nearly a decade working as a professional journalist in West Virginia, Ohio and New York City for both public and commercial news outlets. Her work, covering stories like the 2012 Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting, West Virginia’s 2014 chemical spill and the 2015 trial of former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, has appeared on both national and international airwaves on radio and television.
Jan Pytalski is a Washington, D.C., based correspondent for 100 Days in Appalachia, covering policies from Congress and the White House that impact the region. Jan is a recent transplant to the United States from Poland, where he began his journalism career working for Reuters in Warsaw. Alongside his work for 100 Days, he continues to write for Reuters about the White House. Prior to his work as a reporter, Jan spent over a decade working as a translator.
David Smith (@dvdsmthdvd) is a multimedia producer and helps lead the audience development team for 100 Days in Appalachia. He is a Senior Lecturer at the WVU Reed College of Media teaching visual journalism and multimedia storytelling. Before coming to WVU, David was a visual journalist for 10 years in North Carolina, Alabama, Ohio and West Virginia. He is passionate about teaching and modeling curiosity and experimentation in students at the College of Media. Smith is co-producing a documentary film on Muslim identity in Appalachia with Dana Coester as well as the 360° video series “Muslim in Appalachia” excerpted in 100 Days in Appalachia.
Taylor Sisk is a health care journalist specializing in rural health issues and has served as contributing, associate, managing and executive editor of several newspapers and online publications. He frequently focuses on how health care trends and policies affect people’s lives. Recent projects have included ongoing reportage on migrant health issues, the opioid epidemic, recovery-oriented behavioral health care and a series of profiles of health care professionals. He divides his time between Nashville, Tennessee and Carrboro, North Carolina.
Kristen Uppercue (@KrisUpp) is a student editor for 100 Days in Appalachia and a student at the WVU Reed College of Media studying journalism. Kristen curates content for the publication from the publishing partners and affiliates. She previously worked at New South Media as a writing and editing intern and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences as a marketing and communications intern. Kristen is also a designer for the WVU Graduate Student Journal of Higher Education and editor-in-chief of Mirage Magazine, published through the WVU student organization Ed On Campus.
Jesse Wright (@JWrightWV) is a contributing editor and news director for West Virginia Public Broadcasting. In his first year as news director, Jesse Wright led the station to win six regional Murrow Awards. He has launched two new reporting projects: Appalachia Health News, part of the Kaiser Health partnership with NPR, and the Ohio Valley ReSource, a new regional reporting project funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Wright also has several years experience as an editor at The Dominion-Post in Morgantown, West Virginia. He holds a B.S. in Journalism from WVU.
Tim Marema (@tmarema) serves as editor and co-publisher for 100 Days in Appalachia as vice president of the Center for Rural Strategies and editor of The Daily Yonder. At The Daily Yonder, Tim has created innovative ways to automate the localization of national news stories for rural and small-town community media (a project supported by a Knight Foundation Innovation Fund). His localized stories have reached more than three million rural residents through weekly newspapers and small radio stations, covering such topics as the economic impact of Social Security in rural counties, the increase in food-stamp participation during the Great Recession and the county-level impact of Medicaid expansion in Kentucky. Tim grew up in Eastern Kentucky and now lives in East Tennessee.
Nancy Andrews (@nancyandrews), a contributing reporter and photographer for 100 Days in Appalachia, is a 2018 Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellow studying natural gas pipelines in Appalachia. Previously WVU’s Ogden Professor of Media Innovation, Andrews was part of the 100 Days founding leadership team and created a series of 100 portraits from across Appalachia called ‘100 Voices.’ In the industry, Andrews ran the digital operations of the Detroit Free Press winning four national Emmy Awards and two Edward R. Murrow Awards. She led explanatory projects such as the SABEW award-winning project, “How Detroit Went Broke.” As a Washington Post staff photographer Andrews earned Photographer of the Year awards from the White House News Photographers Association and the Pictures of the Year International from University of Missouri, National Press Photographers Association. She’s published two monographs, “Family: A Portrait of Gay and Lesbian America” and “Partial View: An Alzheimer’s Journey.”
Joel Beeson (@bluzdoctor) is a recovering photojournalist and special correspondent and photo editor for 100 Days. He is also an Associate Professor at the WVU Reed College of Media and co-directs StoryBridge, a Democracy Fund-funded reporting collaboration with Morgan State University’s School of Global Communication and Journalism. Beeson has M.A. and B.A. degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia and received his doctorate in American Studies at the Union Institute and University where his research in counter narrative applies Critical Race and Feminist Standpoint theories to social documentary projects and community engagement work.
Crystal Lewis Brown (@c_lewisbrown) is a Democracy Fund contributing editor leading a reporting series on Religion in Appalachia as well as content strategy for the project. A freelance journalist, editor and digital content strategist with more than 14 years of writing and editing experience, she has previously worked as Director of Editorial Operations for SheKnows Media, and held positions with Gannett and the U.S. Army. She has bylines in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Mommy Nearest, Doorsteps.com and Health.com, among others. She has also led and produced branded content projects for brands like Red Lobster, Discover Personal Loans, Natural Balance, Starbucks, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co., Simply Orange, Capital One and more. Crystal is an alumna of the Poynter-NABJ Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Media at the Poynter Institute and the New York Times Student Journalism Institute. Crystal has an M.S. in journalism from Florida A&M University and received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of South Alabama.
Lovey Cooper (@loveycooper) reports on the intersection of politics and culture in Appalachia. Born and raised in rural North Carolina, Lovey is a graduate of the school of journalism at Appalachian State University. In recent years, she has contributed to award-winning projects and reports tackling issues of poverty and equity in America’s K-12 education system, and worked to increase the ease of access to federal and state policy experts and public information for journalists at small and large outlets nationwide. Her work appears in The Atlantic, Vice, Rewire News and Education Week. She currently serves as the managing editor of Scalawag magazine, and is the voice behind the This Week in the South newsletter.
Mike Costello (@costellowv) is a West Virginia chef, farmer and storyteller from Harrison County, West Virginia. A lifelong West Virginian, Mike now operates Lost Creek Farm, an historic 180-acre farm and traveling kitchen, with his partner Amy Dawson. Through his work, Mike utilizes food as a vehicle to share stories about the depth, complexity and diversity of a region that’s often misrepresented and drastically misunderstood. Mike graduated with a degree from the WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism in 2007, where he began exploring Appalachian foodways and was part of multiple award-winning student projects.
Annemarie Dooling (@TravelingAnna) is a Knight Foundation Innovator-in-Residence leading students and faculty in experiments in audience development and social distribution for 100 Days in Appalachia. Annemarie leads growth for newsletter for Vox Media, and previously served as the director of programming for Racked.com at Vox Media, where she led the media site’s content management and distribution efforts. Previously, she managed audience growth and development for both Vocativ and Yahoo. A self-proclaimed online communities expert who has worked at the Huffington Post and AOL, Annemarie previously served as a community advisor at Salon where she consulted on expanding user participation.
Contributing photographer Roger May (@walkyourcamera) is an Appalachian American photographer and writer based in Charleston, West Virginia. He was born in the Tug River Valley, located on the West Virginia and Kentucky state line, in the heart of Hatfield and McCoy country. His photographs, essays, and interviews have been published by The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, National Geographic, The Oxford American, Le Monde diplomatique, Photo District News, and others. In February 2014, he started the crowdsourced Looking at Appalachia project.
Thomas McBee, is a consulting editor for 100 Days in Appalachia. Thomas is the editorial director for growth at Quartz, where he and the team have quadrupled Quartz’ traffic in the last two and a half years through editorial initiatives promoting growth. He is also a freelance writer whose work can be found in the New York Times, Playboy, the Atlantic, the Rumpus and more. McBee is the author of the award-winning memoir, Man Alive, and is currently working on his second book, Amateur. Additionally, he is a professor in the social journalism graduate program at the City University of New York.
Keith Reed (@K_dot_RE) is a Democracy Fund contributing editor and serves as one of the leads in our collaborative reporting initiative with Morgan State University. He has been a journalist for 17 years, having served as a senior editor at ESPN the Magazine, a staff writer at The Boston Globe and a contributing writer for Vibe, Essence, Ebony and numerous other publications. He has also lent commentary on the economy, culture and sports to CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, NPR and many other outlets. A past board member of the National Association of Black Journalists, he was selected for three terms, including two as the organization’s national treasurer.