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Reporters Shine During Water Crisis

Cecelia Mason

This month’s Storyteller Award goes to a team who’ve worked together so much their names have become joined together: Dave and Ashton.

Dave Mistich is our digital editor; Ashton Marra is our statehouse reporter. And with guidance from news director Beth Vorhees, and major assistance from reporters all over the state, they’ve led our comprehensive and in-depth coverage of the water crisis.

Beth says it best – I have her message here:

“After the derecho on 2012 it was clear we needed more hands on deck in the Charleston newsroom to handle breaking news. How fortunate we were that Dave Mistich and Ashton Marra applied.

“At the outset of the state of emergency, Dave stayed in the newsroom all night and kept our listeners informed both on the air and in social media.

“As statehouse reporter and with the state legislature in session, Ashton used her Capitol sources to great effect. They both kept NPR newscast updated.

“Ashton became NPR's and PBS' go to source. Dave took our online presence to new levels.

“All of our news team stepped up when needed but Dave and Ashton bore the brunt if it on their capable shoulders.”

I have personally received messages from all over the country praising Ashton’s reporting and interviews on “PBS NewsHour.”

And Dave? Let me just say, we recently received a pledge from a listener. Her comment praised our Twitter feed, @wvpublicnews, which is fed mainly by Dave. Who said an investment in social media doesn’t pay off?

Other reporters are also doing wonderful work around the water crisis, such as Jessica Lilly’s reporting on coalfield towns with their own water crises, or Glynis Board’s excellent explanatory journalism around water safety.

That makes it hard to single out any two reporters – but the staying up all night and long hours going on for a month now deserve a special thank you. Dave and Ashton will each receive a $50 gift certificate to the retailer of their choice.

Meanwhile, we’re always looking for new candidates for Storyteller of the Month. It can be any employee or volunteer who goes above and beyond to “Tell West Virginia’s Story.” Send nominations anytime to Belinda McCallister, bmccallister@wvpublic.org.

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