West Virginia Watch is an independent, nonpartisan news service based in Charleston.

Our journalists will hold public officials and agencies accountable, and inform West Virginians of what’s going on behind closed doors. We focus on issues that affect our state every day – such as poverty, access to health care, the foster care system – with an aim of filling the gaps in coverage caused by shrinking newsrooms.

The Watch is part of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit network supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. We retain full editorial independence.

West Virginia Watch is free to read without paywalls or subscription fees. 

Free to republish

Our content is free to others to publish; we ask only for attribution and a link to our site.

Commentary submissions

West Virginia Watch provides a platform for thoughtful commentary and opinions. Learn about our submission guidelines here.

Tips, comments, corrections

Have a tip or story idea? See something that needs a correction or clarification? Or have feedback for us? Please email editor Leann Ray at [email protected].

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Leann Ray


Leann Ray is a journalist based in Charleston and a lifelong West Virginian. Her journalism career started at 16, when she wrote for the Charleston Gazette’s teen publication, FlipSide. After graduating from Poca High School (yes, she is a Poca Dot), she attended West Virginia University, and worked at the student newspaper, The Daily Athenaeum. Since graduating with a B.S in News Editorial and an M.S. in Journalism, she’s worked as a reporter, copy editor, news editor, breaking news editor and most recently served as city editor at the Charleston Gazette-Mail. She resurrected FlipSide in 2018 and increased the number of counties that received the product by 600%. She believes in Mothman, collects Fiestaware and makes jewelry in her free time.

Lori Kersey

Deputy Editor

Lori Kersey is a reporter and editor based in Charleston. She has a decade of experience reporting for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. A native of Sissonville, her reporting roots go back to the newspaper’s teen journalism program, FlipSide. Lori earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at Marshall University and her master’s degree in communication at Morehead State University. Prior to joining the Gazette-Mail in 2011, she worked at the Ironton Tribune in Ohio and the Georgetown News-Graphic in Kentucky. At the paper over the years, she covered city and county government, as well as health, business, courts and crime and worked as assistant city editor and weekend editor. She’s thrilled for the opportunity to continue reporting in West Virginia, where she’s looking to tell impactful stories of all kinds.

Amelia Ferrell Knisely


Amelia Ferrell Knisely is an investigative reporter in West Virginia. Originally from Rand, she started her career in television news in her home state before moving to Nashville and reporting for The Tennessean. Amelia returned to West Virginia in 2019 through Report for America to write about poverty for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, where she documented the state’s 10,000 homeless students and growing child hunger problem. She went on to work at Mountain State Spotlight and West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Amelia’s work, which regularly focuses on child welfare, people with disabilities and social services, has won several national awards. She and her husband, Sean, have three daughters.

Caity Coyne


Caity Coyne is a reporter based in Charleston. Raised in San Diego, Caity moved to West Virginia 10 years ago and is proud to call the state her chosen home. She began reporting in college at West Virginia University and in 2018 accepted a job at the Charleston Gazette-Mail as one of three inaugural reporters with the national nonprofit Report For America. Her persistent reporting in the state's Southern Coalfields helped communities access clean drinking water for the first time in decades and garnered multiple national and state journalism awards, including being named as a finalist for the Livingston Award for National Reporting in 2019. She is passionate about making quality journalism accessible for everyone and ensuring that reporting on issues and communities reflects the needs of those most impacted by policy decisions.