Appalachia

Bonnie Prince Billy to Play WMMT/Appalshop Benefit, July 7th @ Cosmic Charlies

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April 4, 2012
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Love Comes To Me by Bonnie Prince Billy on Grooveshark

Kentucky native son Will Oldham, a/k/a Bonnie Prince Billy, is playing a fundraiser for the wonderful folks at WMMT and Appalshop this summer.

The show will take place July 7th at Cosmic Charlie’s. Tickets are $15, proceeds go to Appalshop. The show is 18+. You can buy in advance here, which you maybe should do because it will sell out.

If you don’t know about WMMT and Appalshop, you should. Based out of Whitesburg, KY, Appalshop was founded in 1969 to promote and protect the arts and culture of Eastern Kentucky. Their associated radio station, WMMT, is a beacon of great music and great talk that reaches across the Appalachian mountains into every nook and cranny. (Okay, maybe not “every.”)

They do good work, Mr. Prince Billy makes good music, and Cosmic Charlie’s has the tickets on sale. So get on with it.

Here’s another Oldham tune, older, but a favorite:

And for even more good times, a month before the Bonnie Prince Billy show, you can head down to Seedtime on the Cumberland, June 7-9th in Whitesburg.

Honest Appalachia!

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January 13, 2012
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Good lord… Appalachia just got its very own Wikileaks:

Via Facing South:

A new project aims to shine a light on corporate and government wrongdoing in Appalachia while helping to start similar transparency initiatives in other communities.

Honest Appalachia offers a secure website and a post-office box where whistleblowers can anonymously leak documents to the public without fear of reprisal. Co-founder Jim Tobias, a University of Pennsylvania-trained journalist, came up with the idea after witnessing the power of WikiLeaks to expose wrongdoing at an international level. His vision came to life this week with the help of about a half-dozen other freelance reporters, computer programmers and transparency activists.

“We were inspired to create something similar to WikiLeaks with a more local focus,” Tobias says.

Honest Appalachia promises to vet all documents they receive and protect the anonymity of the whistleblowers.

So blow your whistles, Appalachia!

Daily Yonder: A State With Empty Bureaus

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May 26, 2011
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The Herald-Leader is closing its last Eastern Kentucky bureau as the probably profitable paper continues its struggle against the parent company’s debt obligations and the news industry remains in trouble and in transition.

Bill Bishop of the Daily Yonder has a great story up now on Dori Hjalmarson, the last bureau reporter, what the news bureaus meant to the region, and what is lost with their closing:

The reporters who worked Eastern Kentucky news bureaus helped change the nation and brought Kentucky together. The last bureau will close this week.

It’s fitting that Dori Hjalmarson’s story Sunday was about the decline in population in Breathitt County, Kentucky, as people abandon that coalfield county in search of work elsewhere because Dori is leaving, too.

Eastern Kentucky once had five major press news bureaus, but they’ve been closing as the business of newspapering has declined. The state’s largest newspaper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, closed its bureau in Hazard years ago. The Associated Press followed, closing its bureau in Pikeville.

At one time the Lexington Herald-Leader had three reporters living in Eastern Kentucky. Dori Hjalmarson was the last. She leaves her Pikeville office Friday and nobody is taking her place.
At one time, every county in Kentucky had daily delivery of the Courier-Journal and the paper had reporters in both Hazard, in the far east, and Paducah, at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.

It was hard to advance in management at the C-J unless you passed through the bureaus. That was the way you learned about the state — the whole state. Then — before the collapse of the newspaper business — the Courier-Journal saw itself as Kentucky’s newspaper.
The C-J and, later, the Herald-Leader sent their best reporters to rural Kentucky. David Hawpe worked out of the Hazard bureau, and became editor of the Courier-Journal. Frank Langfitt began at the Herald-Leader’s Hazard bureau and is now a foreign correspondent for National Public Radio.

Rural bureau reporters in Kentucky were journalistic cops-on-the-beat in their territories. If a person (or a community) was a victim of injustice, the bureau reporter would get a call.

There’s more, of course, on Dori and on history and on the disappearing counties of coal country — at the Daily Yonder.

And let’s take a moment here to also recall Jim Newberry’s Coal-Funded Media Death Star, formed to challenge the stories and strength of the Herald-Leader… right at the time the great H-L needs it least. Way to go, Jim. Way to go.

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