Mountain State Spotlight has hired three new reporters to fill crucial information gaps in West Virginia through their reporting on public health and the economy.
Dan Lawton has been hired as the economic justice reporter, Allen Siegler as the public health reporter, and P.R. Lockhart as the economic development reporter.
“Dan, Allen, and P.R. are valuable additions to our team.” said Ken Ward Jr., co-founder and senior editor. “Our state is confronted by both an unprecedented economic transition as the coal industry declines and a myriad of public health crises that we must face. These three reporters will show how the powerful choose to act in this unique moment and tell the stories of the West Virginians impacted by those decisions.”
Dan Lawton has worked as a reporter in Northern California and New Orleans, covering criminal justice, government and high-profile federal court cases. While working for the East Bay Times in Oakland, his reporting on use-of-force deaths led to countywide policy reform, and his local government coverage sparked an investigation into excessive billing practices. At the New Orleans Advocate, he covered crime and wrote feature stories for the paper’s lifestyle section.
Dan has also worked for Bloomberg News and had a brief stint as a journalist in Ghana as part of his master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon and has an English degree from the University of Colorado. Dan is a New Orleans native and enjoys hiking with his wife, Jillian, and playing with their two rambunctious cats.
Allen Siegler comes to Mountain State Spotlight from The Tacoma News Tribune, where he worked first as an intern and eventually as the Education/Breaking News Reporter. Prior to that, he interned at The San Diego Union-Tribune and wrote freelance articles about refugee resettlement in North Carolina.
Originally from San Diego, Allen earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Yale University and an applied epidemiology master of public health diploma from The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. As a long distance runner, he’s excited to explore the various mountain trails throughout the state.
P. R. Lockhart joins Mountain State Spotlight after two years as a freelance journalist reporting on communities of color for various outlets, including NBC News and The Guardian.
She has lived around the country but called Virginia home for more than a decade. Prior to freelancing, P.R. worked as a reporter covering race and politics for Vox and as a Ben Bagdikian Editorial Fellow at Mother Jones.
Her interest in reporting on marginalized communities was born at Duke University where she studied Psychology and spent way too much time standing in line for basketball games.
Dan and Allen will start at Mountain State Spotlight on September 19; P.R.’s first day of work will be October 25.
Mountain State Spotlight is a nonprofit, public service news organization that tells stories of importance to West Virginians, focusing on the issues and challenges facing their communities. Mountain State Spotlight partners with ProPublica, the American Journalism Project, and Report for America. It is funded by foundation grants, major individual donors, and reader support from West Virginians.