Jesse Wright

News Director

Jesse was born in Swaziland and grew up in South Africa. During his high school years, he witnessed the end of Apartheid and South Africa's transition to democracy.

Jesse moved to West Virginia in 1996 to attend West Virginia University, where he earned a bachelor's in journalism and met his wife, a West Virginia native, in the process.

He came to West Virginia Public Broadcasting from The Dominion Post newspaper in Morgantown, where he served as copy desk chief and worked on almost every aspect of the newspaper's editorial production.

Jesse leads the WVPB newsroom as news director and serves as executive producer of Inside Appalachia. He helped start several internal and external editorial collaborations and projects, including Appalachia Health News, the Ohio Valley ReSource and 100 Days in Appalachia.

Jesse is interested in the effects of government policy on West Virginia citizens' lives.

Based in Morgantown, he has developed a great passion for West Virginia and its unique culture and history.

Jesse lives in the Cheat Lake area of Morgantown, with his wife and three sons.

Ways to Connect

File photo: Deckers Creek runs over a bridge June 23, 2017, in Morgantown, W.Va.
Jesse Wright / WVPB file photo

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency early Saturday for all 55 counties.

According to a news release from the governor, heavy rain triggered flooding in multiple locations and is expected to continue throughout the weekend.

Gov Jim Justice, accompanied by First Lady Cathy Justice, celebrated the Road Bond vote during a press conference on Saturday, October 7, 2017.
Courtesy of the WV Governor's Office

When all was said and done this weekend, the Secretary of State’s office reported about one in ten voters showed up to polls, and about 70 percent of those were in favor of passing Governor Jim Justice’s road bond.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice speaks during a stop on his Save our State tour Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017 on the Coalfields Expressway.
WVDOT

State officials are urging West Virginians to get out and vote during Saturday’s special election.

West Virginia voters are being asked to approve the sale of $1.6 billion in general obligation bonds. The bonds are part of Governor Jim Justice’s roads infrastructure spending plan.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In response to the work being done in Congress around autonomous vehicles, Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) invited industry leaders and the public to examine the issue at a forum at West Virginia University's Erickson Alumni Center, in Morgantown.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Flash flooding in northern and north-central West Virginia communities has left millions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and infrastructure. The rain that began Friday, July 28, resulted in high, rushing waters that days later, families are still trying to recover from. Eight counties are under a state of emergency and members of the National Guard have been mobilized to deal with the damage.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear about U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions's visit to Charleston. We also spend time with photographer Roger May, interviewed by Inside Appalachia host Jessica Lilly as part of this week's episode about music, religion and the song Amazing Grace.

We also feature a new tune from Mountain Stage's Song of the Week.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, U.S. Health and Human Resources Secretary Tom Price talks with West Virginia officials about the state's opioid addiction crisis during a stop on a Trump Administration listening tour.

We also hear from two West Virginia University addiction specialists about the language of addiction and how it affects treatment outcomes.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On the West Virginia Morning, we hear our fourth installment of Inside Appalachia's Struggle to Stay series. Producer Roxy Todd reveals more of the challenges that Colt Brogan faces in his struggle to stay in West Virginia.

We also hear more from our partnership with Wheeling Middle School and we feature another Mountain Stage song of the week.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we'll hear more from eighth-grade students at Wheeling Middle School who teamed up with Northern Panhandle Bureau Chief Glynis Board to report and produce stories and commentaries about the issues that affect them the most.

We'll also hear an update from The Ohio Valley ReSource about an effort in Congress to save retired miners' benefits.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we hear from Wheeling Middle School students who worked with Northern Panhandle Bureau Chief Glynis Board to record stories and commentaries about standardized testing and the arts.

We'll also hear more from Inside Appalachia's recent episode about opioid addiction and the Veterans Administration.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we go to Pikeville, Kentucky, where Dave Mistich reports on a white-nationalist gathering and rally, and counter-protest, which took over much of the town for several days this past weekend.

We'll also hear from Inside Appalachia producer Roxy Todd, who spent some at the Veterans Administration in Martinsburg, West Virginia, looking at how veterans are dealing with chronic pain and opioid abuse.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we very sadly say goodbye to broadcasting icon Beth Vorhees, who retired on April 28 after more than three decades at West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Dave Mistich talks with Vorhees about her career and what's next.

We'll also hear about an effort to identify and study places that are bucking negative statistical trends in the area, including Wirt Couty, West Virginia.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Community groups across the state held several town-hall style events focused on changes to America’s health care system during the past week. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., attended four of the events and was the only member of West Virginia’s congressional delegation to do so.

Best Editorial Entry

Feb 10, 2017

Can We Rebuild? Many Flood Survivors Grappling With a Long Recovery

Jessica Lilly for Best Radio Host --  AP of the Virginias Awards Entry

Gubernatorial candidate and Senate President Bill Cole poses with a supporter during a campaign stop Friday, Oct. 28, in Morgantown.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In his gubernatorial campaign, Senate President Bill Cole has emphasized shrinking the size of state government and cutting down on regulation in West Virginia. Cole has drawn support from like-minded national Republican figures, such as Wisconsin’s controversial governor, Scott Walker.

Dave Mistich / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The Federal Communications Commission chairman is heading to West Virginia to discuss rural broadband and other technology issues.

Democratic candidate Jim Justice speaks during a gubernatorial debate against Senate Majority Leader Bill Cole R-W.Va., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 at the Clay Center in Charleston, W.Va.
Tyler Evert / Associated Press

West Virginia's major party nominees for governor went head-to-head Tuesday, Oct. 4, in the first of two debates before November’s general election. The two businessmen focused mainly on the state’s economic issues.

A sculpture of John Henry by S.L. Jones at the Art Museum of West Virginia University.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

When you think of classic fine art, works by Picasso, Monet and Dali may spring to mind. Art from Appalachia doesn’t tend to feature much in the mind’s eye. But that might change if you visit the Art Museum of West Virginia University.

More than 100 works from 25 Appalachian artists are on display at the museum. The exhibit was decades in the making and spans everything from sculpture to paintings and baskets.

Don Knotts Statue
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A statue honoring TV legend Don Knotts was unveiled Saturday, July 23, in front of The Metropolitan Theatre on High Street in Morgantown.

The Andy Griffith Show star grew up in Morgantown and graduated from West Virginia University.

Knotts, who died in 2006, starred in films and played Deputy Barney Fife on TV's "The Andy Griffith Show."

Water line
West Virginia American Water

Updated June 25 at 3:23 p.m.

West Virginia American Water updated its list of potable water tankers where customers can fill containers:

  • Frame Road in Elkview across from the DOH garage
  • Dollar General on Maywood Avenue in Clendenin
  • Smith’s Foodfair in Clendenin
  • Corner of Lizmore Road and River Haven Road, off the Queen Shoals Bridge
  • Keeneys Creek Missionary Baptist Church, in Winona

West Virginia American Water says it has also provided water tankers to the West Virginia Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to provide assistance to the flood-devastated communities of Richwood, Rainelle and White Sulphur Springs. Exact locations are determined by local emergency management.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign stop Thursday, May 5, at the Morgantown Event Center.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders held three campaign events in West Virginia on Thursday, May 5. At his final stop in Morgantown, Sanders’ focus on student loan debt was well-received by the many college students in the crowd.

Swimmerguy269 / wikimedia Commons

The chapters of three fraternities at West~Virginia University were suspended this week. 

Sigma Chi's local chapter was indefinitely suspended by its national office and the WVU Office of Student Conduct. According to a WVU news release, the suspension was due to an April second social activity that violated fraternity and university regulations.

Troy Clemons was selected as the next WVU Mountaineer mascot Wednesday night.
West Virginia University

A Greenbrier County native was named as the new West Virginia University Mountaineer mascot.

Troy Clemons will be the 64th Mountaineer and will serve during the 2016-’17 academic year.

U92FM Feedback Director Melanie Smith (left) and News and News Director Clarissa Cottrill.
U92FM / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia University’s radio station, U92FM, begins a series of weekly live talk shows at 7 p.m. Feb. 4 with a discussion about America’s criminal justice system.

Two of the students who run the program to talked to West Virginia Public Broadcasting about how it has grown in the past few years to take on more serious subject matter.

Brian Hemphill
Radford University

West Virginia State University President Brian O. Hemphill announced his resignation Wednesday, Dec. 16. Hemphill will leave his post to take over at Radford University, in Virginia, effective July 1, 2016.

He has served as West Virginia State's president since July 2012.

Pages