If you care passionately about highlighting health disparities, illustrating important public health threats, and giving West Virginians the information they need to navigate complicated systems, Mountain State Spotlight wants to hear from you.

We’re seeking a public health reporter to investigate and explain a system that has resulted in our state having among the poorest health outcomes in the nation. We want someone who gets excited about going beyond the surface story to root out underlying causes, holding powerful institutions accountable for public health inequities and highlighting where West Virginians are coming together to build a healthier future.

This job requires curiosity and creativity — as well as excitement about shaping a new type of public health coverage in a place where it’s very literally a matter of life and death.

The job:

  • Produce accountability stories about the people and systems that have failed to give all West Virginians the health care they need.
  • Help us chart a new way of covering public health that meets the information needs of West Virginians more fully than quick hit stories based on studies, press releases and public meetings.
  • Report on the biggest public health threats facing West Virginians, as well as on the root causes and potential solutions.
  • Work with other Mountain State Spotlight reporters to best use our resources to investigate topics that intersect with our other beats (poverty, economy, state government, the environment and communities).

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.
  • You have at least two years of local or regional reporting experience; experience covering health or science is a plus. 
  • You are organized and can handle multiple projects under tight deadlines.
  • You have a collaborative spirit and want to work with a team to give West Virginians the journalism they want, need and deserve. You believe that we are all stronger together.
  • You 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.
  • You have sharp news judgment, and have a record of detailed reporting and powerful storytelling.

Experience as a journalist in West Virginia or other rural Appalachian states is a plus, but not mandatory. 

We encourage members of traditionally underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people, veterans and people with disabilities. We believe that a newsroom that includes a broad range of life experiences will ultimately produce better journalism.

If you meet some, but not all, of these requirements, we still encourage you to get in touch. We’re growing, so if you’re not right for this job, you might be right for the next one.

Compensation and benefits

  • Full-time, competitive salary.
  • Benefits, including 75% company-paid health insurance and 401k.
  • Twenty-five days of paid time off in addition to holidays and our annual “dark week” between Christmas and New Year’s.
  • Paid parental leave.
  • Flexible work schedule. Some weekend and evening hours will be required.

Mountain State Spotlight is based in Charleston, West Virginia, a small city where you’ll find friendly neighbors, a low cost of living and numerous opportunities to explore our beautiful state. It’s also full of exciting news to report on, and faces many challenges that demand our vigorous brand of watchdog journalism.

The Organization

Mountain State Spotlight was founded in 2020 by MacArthur Fellow Ken Ward Jr. and veteran West Virginia editor Greg Moore. Joined by Pulitzer Prize-winner Eric Eyre, they’re powering an independent, civic news organization that helps West Virginians understand our state’s issues and its potential.

In addition to our co-founders, our team includes a managing editor, a development manager and five reporters. We are backed by Report for America, the American Journalism Project, and ProPublica, and have big plans to grow to give our neighbors the journalism they want, need and deserve.

Application Process

To apply, or for more information, email jobs@mountainstatespotlight.org. Your application should include: 

  • Your resume;
  • A cover letter telling us why you are the right person for Mountain State Spotlight’s team. Describe your vision of how you would approach an accountability-focused public health beat in West Virginia;
  • Links or PDF files of at least three examples of your best work.

Applications will be reviewed and interviews scheduled on a rolling basis, giving an advantage to early applicants. For best consideration, apply by May 31, 2022.