Mountain State Spotlight has hired reporter La Shawn Pagán to expand its coverage of West Virginia’s economic justice issues. She started this week.

A New York native of Puerto Rican descent, La Shawn has worked for local newspapers in New York City and Chattanooga, Tennessee. In New York, she reported on climate change, sports and human rights violations at the United Nations. In Chattanooga, La Shawn covered criminal justice and reported on courts and the conditions of the jail in Hamilton County, Tennessee. 

“La Shawn has a demonstrated track record of highlighting inequities across counties and systems,” said Managing Editor Erica Peterson. “We’re excited to have her on board to lift up the voices of people experiencing poverty in West Virginia and to explore why poverty exists in the state.” 

La Shawn studied criminology and criminal justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. She earned a certification in Film and TV Industry Essentials from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and also holds a certification on covering jails from The Poynter institute. 

She has completed several documentaries on climate change and domestic abuse, focusing on male victims.

“La Shawn brings experience to the newsroom that will allow us to continue to provide journalism not just about West Virginians, but with and for them,” said Deputy Managing Editor Duncan Slade.