The Front Porch: Outsiders in Appalachia


Jesse and Marisha Camp were driving through McDowell County when they were confronted by angry residents who believed they were taking photos of their children.

No one was injured, but Marisha Camp recorded the tense encounter and shared it with photographer Roger May. It’s become a national story, especially among photographers. What can explain a group of people reacting so negatively to someone taking a few pictures?

There’s a bigger context for this incident. Appalachia has a long and troubled history with outsiders. And more specifically, some of those outsiders with cameras have portrayed residents as depraved and freakish.

On The Front Porch this week, we tackle the third rail of Appalachian culture: outsiders, and how we deal with them. Daily Mail columnist Laurie Lin and Rick Wilson of the American Friends Service Committee bravely delve into this tough topic with host Scott Finn.

An edited version of “The Front Porch” airs Fridays at 4:50 p.m. on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s radio network, and the full version is available at and as a podcast as well.

Share your opinions with us about these issues, and let us know what you’d like us to discuss in the future. Send a tweet to @radiofinn or @wvpublicnews, or e-mail Scott at sfinn @