After doing a bit of exploring and reading texts from real experts, when it comes down to it, no one is wrong! (Other than the internet bullies who think they're the only one's who know the correct pronunciation of "Appalachia"!!)
John Alexander Williams is professor of history at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. In his book, Appalachia: A History, he specially write about this topic and talks to the differences in regional pronunciation:
"As if the varying boundaries weren't enough, there is no fundamental agreement even about how to pronounce the word "Appalachia." Residents of southern and central Appalachia pronounce the term with a short -a- in the stressed third syllable; further north, the same -a- is given a long pronunciation, as in "Appal-achia." Most of the experts and bureaucrats who came from Washington and elsewhere to fix the region's problems beginning in the 1960s adopted the northern pronunciation, while resident experts favor the southern-- which led to a situation, according to one commentator, wherein "people who said AppaLAYchia were perceived as outsiders who didn't know what they were talking about but were more than willing to tell people from the mountains what to do and how they should do it." Finally, while a majority of both long and short -a- users crunch the third syllable as though it were spelled Appal-atch-yuh, in New England-- where the term "Appalachian" first came into widespread use by nongeologists thanks to the Appalachian Mountain Club and the development of the Appalachian Trail-- a variant pronunciation uses "sh" rather than "ch," as in Appal-ay-shuh."
So whether you personally say "sha", "cha", "latch", or "lay".... I honestly could care less. The pronunciation IS NOT the point. We created the videos to increase awareness. Most people don't know that extreme poverty lives in our American backyard, and even when they see it or read about it, they don't believe what they see or can't comprehend it due to the fact that it is so overwhelming. This is not a bad thing, but true as many of us do not see poverty like this on a daily basis. Thus, we wanted to share what we've personally seen over the past 20 years and see still today, but do it in a respectful way that does not publish images, videos, voice recording, or clips of the homes or workplaces of children, adults, veterans, or the elderly who live in or around the beautiful Appalachian Mountains.
Why, you might ask do we not publish such images? First and most importantly, we do not believe in using someone's misfortune as a marketing ploy as we see more and more nonprofits doing across the globe. We made that decision about 15 years back and have stuck to it ever since. Second, my grandma Norma taught me to respect others and I'm sure as she watches down on us from above would not approve disrespectful acts.
The result of this choice is that we've had stories and opportunities pulled, turned down, or revoked from magazines, newspapers, and the television news because we refuse to take a crew with us into a holler, plant, pantry, or school building to dig up images. While I was not born in Appalachia, my entire family is Appalachian through and through and I must always remember where I really come from. On a positive note, the other result is that our little nonprofit has gained great support from Appalachians and Appalachian-ex-patriots all over the globe... and that is what giving is about. For our donors, volunteers, and moral-supporters we are eternally grateful, thank you!