West Virginia Watch to launch statewide news outlet

Award-winning West Virginia journalists to cover policy and politics

WV Press Release Sharing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Watch, an independent, non-partisan online news outlet focusing on state government and policy, announced today it will launch July 11.

The Watch will cover issues including criminal justice, education, health, labor, environment and energy. The nonprofit news site is published without ads or paywalls, so there’s no need to log in to read anything. Sign up now for the daily newsletter, First Watch, at westvirginiawatch.com.

The articles and commentary produced by the Watch are free for other news organizations to republish.

“We’re so excited to be able to fill the gaps in reporting created by media outlets closing and shrinking newsrooms,” said West Virginia Watch Editor-in-Chief Leann Ray. “Our team of intrepid reporters will continue their work shining light on what those in power try to do without the public’s knowledge.”

The staff members have extensive knowledge of West Virginia government and politics. They include:

Leann Ray, editor-in-chief: Ray, a Poca native, spent more than 10 years at the Charleston Gazette and Charleston Gazette-Mail as a copy editor, news editor, breaking news editor and city editor. In 2018, she resurrected the Gazette-Mail’s teen journalism program, FlipSide, a monthly publication written by middle and high school students. She also worked as a reporter in North Central West Virginia, covering arts and entertainment, health and city/county government. Ray has a B.S. in news – editorial and an M.S. in journalism from West Virginia University. She’s won awards for reporting and her work with FlipSide.

●  Caity Coyne, reporter: Coyne, a San Diego, California native, is an award-winning reporter and one of the inaugural three Report for America corps members. RFA placed Coyne at the Charleston Gazette-Mail in 2018 to report on the southern coalfields. After two years with RFA, Coyne then covered health at the Gazette-Mail, focusing on COVID-19, HIV, harm reduction, clean water access, chronic disease, abortion and the drug epidemic in West Virginia. Coyne has a B.S. in print journalism from West Virginia University.

●  Lori Kersey, deputy editor: Kersey, a Sissonville native and award-winning journalist, has more than 10 years experience covering news in West Virginia. She’s spent most of her journalism career at the Charleston Gazette-Mail as both a reporter and editor. She covered government, health and business beats, and worked as both assistant city editor and weekend editor. Kersey also worked for the Ironton Tribune in Ironton, Ohio, and the Georgetown News-Graphic in Georgetown, Kentucky. Kersey has a B.A. in journalism from Marshall University and an M.A. in communications from Morehead State University.

●  Amelia Ferrell Knisely, reporter: Knisely, a Rand native, is an award-winning investigative reporter with 10 years experience in journalism focusing on poverty, child welfare, public health, social services and education. She’s worked at The Tennessean, Charleston Gazette-Mail, Mountain State Spotlight and West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Knisely has a B.S. in political science from Shepherd University and an M.A. in communication studies from Marshall University. The 35th state will become the 35th member state of States Newsroom, a national nonprofit network of newsrooms funded by individual contributions and institutional grants.

For more information: www.westvirginiawatch.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WV_Watch

Facebook: www.facebook.com/westvirginiawatch/

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