Newspaper Industry News

Charleston reporter gives lecture on Blankenship trial

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A reporter who covered the trial of former Massey executive Don Blankenship, who last week was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of $250,000 for conspiring to violate federal mine safety and health standards, said he hopes West Virginians understand the historical significance of the case.

Blankenship is the former chairman and CEO of Massey Energy Company, which operated the Upper Big Branch Mine when an April 2010 explosion killed 29 miners. It was the worst U.S. coal-mining disaster in a generation and the worst in West Virginia since 1968.

“I hope people understand that this was a significant moment in history given the current state of the coal industry,” said Gazette-Mail reporter Ken Ward Jr.

Ward was the speaker for Sunday’s Little Lecture at the West Virginia Humanities Council.

Ward said he hopes the audience, as well as West Virginia residents, realize that the recent events are a huge part of West Virginia history…

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