To suggest a story, email our team at

To ask questions about membership or a donation, or for general information, email us at

Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Report for America corps member, covering poverty

Amelia Ferrell Knisely, a native of Rand in Kanawha County, started her career in her home state then served as editor of The Contributor in Nashville, a nonprofit street paper sold by men and women experiencing homelessness. She later covered education for The Tennessean. Most recently, as a Report for America corps member at the Charleston Gazette-Mail, she documented the state’s thousands of homeless students, forcing political leaders to start looking for solutions to the problem. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Shepherd University and a master’s degree from Marshall University.

Douglas Soule

Report for America corps member covering business and economic development

Born and raised in West Virginia, Douglas Soule has been with Mountain State Spotlight since its operations began in June 2020. He previously served for two years as editor-in-chief of the Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia University’s independent student newspaper. He has interned at the Charleston Gazette-Mail and The Globe Post, and participated in the 2019 POLITICO Journalism Institute.

Emily Allen

Report for America corps member and community watchdog reporter

Emily Allen comes to West Virginia from the upper Midwest, where she earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Minnesota and covered local government for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Allen arrived to the Mountain State in 2019 as a Report for America corps member. She worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, covering the state legislature and public affairs throughout southern West Virginia. 

As a community watchdog reporter, Allen will report on communities around the state, engage people in the process of sharing their stories and provide them with the information they need to make their hometowns stronger. 

Eric Eyre


Eric Eyre, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting in 2017 for stories on the opioid crisis, is a co-founder and senior investigative reporter at Mountain State Spotlight. He is the author of Death in Mud Lick: A Coal Country Fight Against the Drug Companies That Delivered the Opioid Epidemic. Eyre previously worked as a reporter for the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail for 22 years, covering state government, health, business and education, and his award-winning investigative stories have mostly spotlighted issues in rural West Virginia communities. Eyre graduated from Loyola University of New Orleans and received a master’s degree from the University of South Florida at St Petersburg while on a Poynter Fund Fellowship.

Erica Peterson

Managing Editor

Erica Peterson has more than a decade of experience as a reporter, editor and newsroom manager in both West Virginia and Kentucky. She started her career as a reporter with West Virginia Public Broadcasting, then covered energy and the environment for years as a reporter at Louisville Public Media where her reporting took her into rivers, coal mines and World War II-era bunkers.

Most recently, Erica oversaw the large local and regional newsroom at Louisville Public Media as the director of news and programming. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Carleton College and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

Greg Moore


Greg Moore is a co-founder. Greg grew up in Morgantown and graduated from West Virginia University. He spent nearly 25 years as an editor and reporter at the Charleston Gazette and Charleston Gazette-Mail. He began his career there in 1996 as a copy editor, then covered beats including business, education, health and the city of Charleston as a reporter. He joined the Gazette’s city desk as an assistant city editor, then rose to become city editor and managing editor, and spent his last two years there as the Gazette-Mail’s executive editor.

Ian Karbal

Report for America corps member and state government watchdog reporter

Before joining the Mountain State Spotlight team, Ian Karbal was a Delacorte Magazine fellow at the Columbia Journalism Review, covering mis/disinformation and the media industry. His work has also appeared in The Trace, OpenSecrets, and the Gateway Journalism Review. Karbal, from Chicago, began his career reporting on local government for the Pinckneyville Press in southern Illinois. His investigative work uncovering biased and for-profit policing practices earned him a Freedom of Information Award from the National Newspaper Association, and made him a finalist for the 2018 Chicago Headline Club’s Peter Lisagor Awards.

Ken Ward Jr.


Ken Ward Jr. is a co-founder. He is also a distinguished reporting fellow with our partner, the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica. Ken spent nearly three decades reporting for The Charleston Gazette on the impacts of coal mining, chemical manufacturing and natural gas drilling on his home state of West Virginia. In 2018, he received a MacArthur Fellowship – the so-called “Genius Grant” — for “revealing the human and environmental toll of natural resource extraction in West Virginia and spurring greater accountability among public and private stakeholders.” He grew up in Mineral County and graduated from West Virginia University. He lives in Charleston with his wife, Legal Aid Attorney Elizabeth Wehner, their son, Thomas, and their cat Henry.

Molly Ballard

Development Manager

Molly is a native of Putnam County and began her career in nonprofit communications, working for start-up nonprofits in Copenhagen, Denmark and Manhattan.

Upon returning to the Mountain State, she began her development career in educational fundraising at the University of Charleston. While at UC, she worked to develop strategies regarding alumni engagement, new donor acquisition, donor retention, and stewardship. With her team, she implemented an annual, university-wide day of giving, the success of which afforded her the opportunity to present at an institutional fundraising conference in Washington, D.C. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Communication and is completing her master’s degree in Intercultural Studies.

Quenton King

Report for America corps member and public health reporter

Quenton King is a native West Virginian, born and raised in Charles Town in the Eastern Panhandle. He previously worked as a policy analyst for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. His past research and organizing work focused on criminal justice, public health, and environmental justice issues. Quenton holds a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia University and a master’s of public health from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Our Board of Directors

Ben Bailey, Chairman

Steve Canterbury, Treasurer

Suzanne Weise, Secretary