Journo Jobs

Mountain State Spotlight seeks a state government watchdog reporter

May 19, 2023

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

We’re looking for a reporter who will take Mountain State Spotlight’s coverage in a different direction — one that’s driven by the needs of West Virginians, by a desire to de-wonkify state government and clearly explain how our government affects their lives.

This is a nontraditional statehouse reporting position, focused on moving away from a reactive approach that simply chronicles the actions of powerful people.

You’ll cover our government — from the Legislature and the governor’s office to executive agencies and the courts — spotlighting how the sausage gets made and exposing abuses of power. You’ll show the real-world effects of last-minute amendments, influential lobbyists and backroom deals on real West Virginians in every county in the state. You’ll spearhead election coverage, including working on new products designed to give vital civic information to as many West Virginians as possible. And you will work and be mentored by experienced editors who expect kick-ass stories and know that those stories take time to report and produce.

Job responsibilities:

  • Cover and produce investigative stories about all aspects of state government, giving readers more depth and detail than legacy media provides with its limited resources and focus on the drip-drip-drip of daily stories.
  • Report on West Virginia’s congressional delegation, providing our readers with a more complete understanding of what their elected representatives are up to than press release-driven local coverage currently allows.
  • Help us chart a new way of covering politics and elections that meets the information needs of West Virginians more fully than quick hit stories based on the latest 30-second campaign spots.
  • Work with other Mountain State Spotlight reporters to best use our resources to investigate the kinds of abuses of power in our government that have held West Virginia back for generations.
  • Examine and report on the places where West Virginia’s government intersects with business and industry, exposing conflicts of interest that harm the public and enrich the powerful.

You’re a good fit if:

  • You have a demonstrated commitment to the use of investigative journalism, and live to develop and execute sustained, powerful stories that spur reform.
  • Have at least three years experience working as a reporter in a local newsroom, with some record of producing stories that hold powerful people accountable.
  • Are mission-oriented: scared about the future of local news, but wildly optimistic that we can fill a critical need in West Virginia.
  • Are organized and can handle multiple projects under tight deadlines.
  • Enjoy working together with editors to execute stories from idea to published product, and believe reporting and writing are team sports.
  • Maintain a professional social media presence.
  • Like to collaborate, and believe that we’re all stronger when we work together.
  • You have data reporting skills that would serve you well in examining campaign finance issues in the Mountain State.
  • Are flexible and comfortable working in an environment where the pace can be fast, and multitasking is the norm.
  • Believe that legacy models for local media’s business and journalism are broken and that new approaches are needed to serve the public and our democracy.

Experience reporting on government or public policy — or as a journalist in West Virginia or other rural Appalachian states — is a plus, but not mandatory.

Our pay range for this position is $50,000-$70,000

To apply or to ask questions, email Please send us a resume, three work samples and a cover letter that tells us why you are right for Mountain State Spotlight’s team.

Applications will be reviewed and interviews scheduled on a rolling basis, giving an advantage to early applicants. For best consideration, apply by June 5, 2023.

For further details click here.

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