Mountain State Spotlight is thrilled to announce the hire of Ellie Heffernan as the nonprofit civic newsroom’s Community Watchdog reporter.

Ellie joins Mountain State Spotlight as a Report for America corps member starting June 1.

A recent graduate of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media at UNC-Chapel Hill, she previously wrote for several publications including INDY Week, The Local Reporter, The UNC Institute for the Environment, and The Daily Tar Heel.  In her spare time, she likes reading and playing her clarinet or guitar.

Ellie Heffernan

At Mountain State Spotlight, Ellie will write watchdog stories from communities around the state, working to engage West Virginians in the process of telling their stories and providing them with information they need to make their communities and our state stronger. 

Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.                           

Ellie is among more than 300 Report for America corps members whose placements in local newsrooms were announced Tuesday. Mountain State Spotlight was formed two years ago, with Report for America as a founding partner.

“We are so glad that Ellie is joining the Mountain State Spotlight team to help give West Virginians the public service journalism they want, need and deserve,” said co-founder Ken Ward Jr.

In addition to Ellie, three of Mountain State Spotlight’s current Report for America corps members will stay with the organization for another year.

Amelia Ferrell Knisely covers poverty for Mountain State Spotlight, and over the past year has focused on child hunger and the foster care system. 

Douglas Soule covers economic development. His recent work has included examination of CARES Act funding, state business incentive programs and the economic challenges faced by West Virginia’s small communities.

Ian Karbal is Mountain State Spotlight’s state government watchdog reporter. Over the past year, his coverage has included the legislative session, redistricting and state policies. 

We’re hiring two additional reporters to focus on health and the environment, and recently announced the hire of Duncan Slade as Audience Manager. 

Report for America pays a percentage of corps members’ salaries; to help Mountain State Spotlight with its share of their salaries, donate here.