Mountain State Spotlight, in partnership with The Diversity Pledge Institute, is excited to announce the first year of a new fellowship program aimed at giving aspiring journalists of color or from other marginalized communities a paid opportunity to learn new skills in Charleston, West Virginia.

Journalism, both in West Virginia and nationwide, has a dire need for journalists with a more diverse range of backgrounds and experiences. This fellowship, funded in part by The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, is designed to prepare and support the next generation of West Virginia journalists to join our newsroom and perhaps later, others around the state. 

As a full-time member of our staff for the duration of the fellowship, you’ll work with our editors to publish several more in-depth stories on an area of interest. You’ll also learn new journalism skills and techniques from your colleagues, including interviewing, reporting, researching, data analysis and filing successful Freedom of Information Act requests. 

We are looking for someone with the curiosity and interest to be an entry-level journalist, but formal experience in newsrooms or a journalism degree is not required. The ideal candidate will be a current student or recent graduate with an interest in local news and accountability reporting. Preference will be given to candidates with ties to West Virginia, Appalachia, or another rural place. This fellowship will be customized for the successful candidate and could last anywhere from eight to 20 weeks.

Job responsibilities:

  • Bring an accountability lens to the issues West Virginians encounter daily, including through quicker stories reported over days or weeks, as well as longer projects. 
  • Work with editors to identify, plan, report, write, edit and publish short and long-term stories that shed new light on information West Virginians need to know.
  • 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.
  • Participate in newsroom-wide trainings, meetings and assignments.

You’re a good fit if:

  • You are excited by the prospect of working in local news and/or investigative journalism, and are passionate about being able to develop and execute sustained, powerful stories that spur reform.
  • Have some college-level writing experience, either at a campus publication or in writing academic papers that seek to explain a complicated subject. 
  • 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.
  • Like to collaborate, and believe that we’re all stronger when we work together.
  • Are flexible and comfortable working in an environment where the pace can be fast, and multitasking is the norm. 

The Organization

Founded in March 2020, Mountain State Spotlight went from pitch to publish in less than six months — in the midst of a raging global pandemic.  We have a plan to continue expanding our coverage, including bureaus across the state, to fill in growing information gaps as West Virginia’s legacy media continues to decline. 

Do you love the sound of this job, but you don’t quite check all of these boxes? Do you have skills we haven’t thought of yet?  Don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself. We also encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including people of color, veterans, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

Compensation and benefits

  • $20/hour for a 40-hour work week during the agreed-upon fellowship period.
  • Benefits, including 75% company-paid health insurance and 401K.
  • $450/month housing stipend — relocation to the Charleston area for the duration of the fellowship is required.
  • Flexible work schedule. Some weekend and evening hours will be required.

To apply or to ask questions, email Please send us a resume, three writing samples (any type of writing that shows your skills — for example, a thesis paper or research assignment) and a cover letter that tells us why you are right for Mountain State Spotlight’s team.