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West Virginia “genius” reporter still has questions


The Register-Herald

Charleston Gazette-Mail investigative reporter Ken Ward Jr. recently received a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.”
(Register-Herald photo by Chris Jackson)

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Ken Ward Jr. doesn’t have all the answers.

During a roughly one-hour interview in a Charleston coffee shop earlier this month, the veteran journalist still gets excited when he talks about newspaper work, the scientific method, and the future of journalism. He also uses the phrase “I don’t know” at least three times.

Ward, an investigative reporter at the Charleston Gazette, now Gazette-Mail, is one of the newest recipients of a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” The foundation, which works toward a more just, verdant, and peaceful world, recently announced Ward, 50, was the only journalist of 25 recipients to receive the five-year, $625,000 award. Although the money comes with no strings attached, it allows recipients to continue creative work.

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