In One of the Poorest States in the Country, This Reporter Is the Only One Covering Poverty

Written for 100 Days in Appalachia. Read the full piece here.

In 2017, 19.1 percent of West Virginians experienced poverty, 5.7 percent higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. But poverty isn’t an isolated problem in West Virginia. In one of the poorest states in the country, poverty touches housing, education, health care and food. 

While journalists throughout the state loosely cover poverty’s effects on West Virginians, no one was solely focusing on the topic. That is until Amelia Ferrell Knisely, a 2019-2020 Report for America fellow, was placed at the Charleston Gazette-Mail to cover West Virginia’s poverty crisis. Report for America, a service program created by the nonprofit The GroundTruth Project, places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities. 

Prior to the fellowship, Ferrell Knisely has previously reported on education and children’s issues at The Tennessean in Nashville and served as editor of The Contributor, a nonprofit newspaper sold by people experiencing homelessness. 

Knisely spoke to 100 Days in Appalachia’s Kristen Uppercue about her reporting. 

Read the full interview on 100 Days in Appalachia’s website.

Top image: Amelia Knisely, Courtesy photo

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