CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Most members of the press throughout West Virginia have probably interacted with House of Delegates Communications Director Miranda Kessel, either by telephone or email. However, few likely know how much Kessel can assist them with their coverage of the legislature.
From the chamber of the House within the Capitol to newspapers across the state, Kessel’s duties are expansive.
“I primarily serve as spokesperson, supporting the Speaker, the leadership team, the majority caucus as well as all 100 members in the House of Delegates,” said Kessel, adding she also handles “… any media inquiries related to the legislature or members within the House of Delegates.”
Kessel knows the importance of keeping the state’s newspapers up-to-date with legislative news.
She favors a very responsive and transparent approach to handling the distribution of news. With the instantaneous nature of news and updates today, Kessel sends out media alerts throughout the legislative session and makes sure members of the press stay informed when laws go into effect or any new legislative developments occur.
Having worked for the House of Representatives in Washington D.C., Kessel has noticed “there’s a lot of differences but similarities as well,” with the House of Delegates.
Kessel likes being back and working in West Virginia because everyone throughout the state acts as a close-knit community. “I feel like that makes for really good relationships because we’re very much a friends-and-neighbors state,” said Kessel, adding the close-knit nature practiced and experienced throughout the state makes for very good relationships with the media.
Kessel knows her relationship with the press is one that deserves continued support and attention, believing she should always be responsive, amenable and timely. “It’s also really important to try to build as good of a relationship as you can with each publication and reporter,” she said.
There’s always room for improvement though. Kessel hopes members of the press will think of her as a valuable resource for their House legislative needs.
Kessel may be able to help more than some may believe.
“A lot of the papers get a hold of their local delegates individually, but we could also help get them the information that they need, or set them up with delegates, that not only represent the majority of the areas in which they cover but also some that are close to their areas,” said Kessel.
It can be more than extending the legislative reach for a local paper. Kessel could also assist reporters and newspapers with issues important to the local readers. If an important education issue was occurring in Parkersburg but the chairperson is not from Parkersburg, Kessel said an interview could be arranged. “We can always coordinate interviews with our leadership and our chairs,” said Kessel.
The only stipulation Kessel can attach to any of the services: “Things are always a little different while the legislature is in session.”
Kessel asks that members of the press simply take into consideration that she and the members of the House are on the floor a great deal, so as much advance notice as possible to be able to meet their deadlines is appreciated.
If you would like to contact Kessel about these services, she can be reached by phone — 304-340-3323 or 304-671-0706— or emails, which are probably the best, at [email protected]
Members of the press and general public can follow Kessel on Twitter at @mirandawv.