There’s welcome news in the West Virginia mediascape this week, a place with few good tidings in recent years, giving the withering of once-robust news staffs. Pulitzer Prize-winner Eric Eyre will join the investigative staff of the new West Virginia non-profit watchdog outfit Mountain State Spotlight, which bills itself as “an independent, civic news organization that tells stories of importance to West Virginians about the issues and challenges facing their communities.”
The new digital newsroom is the project of former Charleston Gazette-Mail investigative reporter and MacArthur “Genius” grant winner Ken. A. Ward and former Gazette-Mail executive editor Greg Moore.
Eyre is also a former Gazette-Mail investigative reporting linchpin. (If that seems like a lot of reportorial firepower was formerly associated with the the Gazette-Mail and its legendary predecessor, the Charleston Gazette, you’d be right. And right again.)
Eric and the Gazette-Mail won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting, for dogged, groundbreaking reporting on the flood of opioids poured into West Virginia by drug companies. The series launched a thousand other stories nationwide. If an avalanche of opioid pills pouring into unsuspecting communities across America comes to mind when you hear “pharmaceutical companies,” the surge of reporting about that deadly scourge had much of its roots in the work of Eric Eyre.
As a former Gazetteer myself (as a long-form feature writer, editor, and multimedia producer), GM feature editor Maria Young and I did a behind-the-scenes, 7-minute video on how the Gazette-Mail landed a Pulitzer. Attention, wannabe or up-and-coming investigative/hard news reporters across the land!
Take note(s) …
Also check out Eric’s critically acclaimed book, “Death In Mud Lick,” about reporting the series while also grappling with Parkinson’s. As this Washington Post profile notes of the book’s with its dead-on headline: “Behind West Virginia’s Opioid Cris, An Addiction to Money.”
DRAGLINE: The Pro-Pipeline Editorial by the Pipeline Industry CEO/Publisher: “It’s damn easy to figure out what has been lost,” Doug Reynolds wrote in his West Virginia newspapers, “but for the life of me I can’t ascertain who won.” What Reynolds fails to mention is what exactly is losing: his natural gas pipeline construction company.
DEAR DOUG REYNOLDS: An Open Letter On Your Pro-Pipeline Column: “One would think you might have had serious second thoughts about not revealing some key information in your pro-pipeline column. After all, you were standing in the bully pulpit of a newspaper that prided itself on shedding light into dark corners of conflicts of interest and spotlighting partial truths that mask self-interest.”
DEAR DOUG REYNOLDS: We all let out a sigh of relief in the building when HD Media bought the Charleston Gazette-Mail. A West Virginia guy with deep pockets, if a middle-of-the-road, non-fire-breathing dragon sort. But still! A sort-of, quasi-liberal new owner, for one of America’s renowned, way-liberal, fire-breathing, storied small newspapers. But… did we get that wrong? | Article from TheStoryIsTheThing.com
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