Jim Workman Published

WVSU Graduate Students Chosen As Fellows For West Virginia Public Broadcasting's Folkways Project

2022 Folkways Fellows Chosen

West Virginia State University graduate students Leeshia Lee and Angelica Willis have been selected as fellows for West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Inside Appalachia Folkways Project.

Working with WVSU, the West Virginia Public Broadcasting Foundation and the West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority, the Folkways Fellowship spans a nine-month period during the regular college academic year. WVSU is a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) located in Institute, said Folkways Project coordinator Eleanor Gould.

“Leeshia and Angelica are outstanding candidates for our fellowship,” said Eleanor Gould, Folkways Project coordinator. “Our goal is to support the growth and development of the fellows in their storytelling and leadership skills.”

“We’re pleased to welcome these outstanding mentees to our Folkways Fellowship program,” said Butch Antolini, interim executive director for West Virginia Public Broadcasting. “It will provide them hands-on reporting skills and generate content highlighting African American folk life, arts and culture in Appalachia.”

Mentoring student producers of content focusing on the African American Appalachian experience, actively building a diverse corps of Folkways reporters, and partnering with African American teachers, trainers and producers, is an integral part of the project. The long-term goal is greater diversity, not only in content but to begin to foster an atmosphere where greater diversity can thrive across the organization, said Gould.

The intended goals and outputs of the fellowships include:
* Fellows producing at least two stories per year.
* Participating in all aspects of the Folkways Reporting Corps and being mentored by esteemed African American content producers from across the region.
* Learning the basics of audio reporting and folkways storytelling as a part of the Folkways Reporting Corps, and working with Folkways editors, as well as the hosts of the Black in Appalachia Podcast.
* Expanding the Folkways Project to purposefully include exploration of the African American experience in Appalachia.