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 WVU. 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 production. Before that, he worked as a graduate assistant at WVU's journalism school, focusing on multimedia storytelling.

Jesse is interested in public affairs, education and 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 history.

Jesse lives in the Cheat Lake area of Morgantown, along with his wife, Clover, and his three sons - Arden, Logan and Callan.

Ways to Connect

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.

The Morgantown High School Marching Band makes its way down High Street in Morgantown on Wednesday, Nov. 11, during the city's Veterans Day parade.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Dec. 7, 2016 will mark the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which thrust America into World War II. Morgantown High School’s marching band has been selected to represent West Virginia during a commemoration next year in Hawaii to honor that milestone.

One of the few remaining survivors of the attack came to the Mountain State from Texas to share his first-hand account of that fateful day with the band members and take part in Veterans Day ceremonies.

The West Virginia state employee and retiree insurance program is asking the public to weigh in on cuts in benefits it proposed earlier in October.

The Public Employees Insurance Agency said it plans to cut benefits by nearly $83 million for active employees and about $41 million for retirees, primarily through sharply higher deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

Neil Gaiman
Kimberly Butler

Author Neil Gaiman has earned many accolades for his books and graphic novels, including Hugo and Nebula awards for American Gods and The Graveyard Book. Two of his books, Coraline and Stardust, were made into blockbuster movies. 


Gaiman will be one of the featured speakers at the West Virginia Book Festival later this month. West Virginia Public Broadcasting is one of the festival’s sponsors.

Gaiman is primarily a fiction writer. He has crafted vivid characters who inhabit worlds that straddle the familiar and the fantastical. Strands of ancient and modern mythology run through much of Gaiman’s work.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has joined Ohio and Pennsylvania in an effort to grow the shale gas industry on a regional level. An agreement solidifying that partnership was signed Tuesday, Oct. 13, in Morgantown.

The agreement spells out four main areas that the three states will work together on to grow the natural gas industry: Marketing, workforce development, infrastructure and research.

If you’re looking for an indoor escape from the dreary weather, two film festivals are being held in different parts of the state this weekend.

The Williams River Valley
Thomas Fletcher

An area of the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia known as the Birthplace of Rivers is getting some special attention this week.

The name Birthplace of Rivers refers to a wilderness area in the eastern part of the state that contains the headwaters for the Cranberry, Cherry, Gauley, Elk, Williams and Greenbrier rivers.

In this undated photo released Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015, on a social media site used by Islamic State militants, shows smoke from the detonation of the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in in Syria’s ancient caravan city of Palmyra.
Uncredited / Associated Press

The idea of preserving artwork during times of war was brought into the public consciousness by a recent movie called "The Monuments Men." The movie is based on a true story about an international team of experts who saved works of art from the Nazis during World War II. 


There is a modern-day version of that story playing out right now in the Middle East and an American cultural preservationist says everyone should be concerned about what Islamic State militants are doing to destroy the world’s common cultural heritage. 

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., visited Preston County for a town hall meeting on Friday, Sept. 4. Manchin heard from residents about everything from education and Social Security to America’s debt problems, but much of the discussion revolved around the Iran nuclear deal.

Division of Highways

A former director of the West Virginia Division of Highway’s equipment division has died after being indicted on federal racketeering charges.

U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld announced Tuesday, Aug. 1, that Robert Glen Andrew II, of Bridgeport, was charged with 29 counts relating to what the government calls the creation of a “culture of corruption” within the Division of Highways.

wikimedia commons

The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department and the city of Wheeling are asking residents to use caution after blue-green algae was found in water samples taken from the Ohio River.


According to a health department news release, water testing on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at the Pike Island Lock and Dam on the Ohio River showed elevated levels of blue-green algae. The algae, at high concentrations, can cause health problems such as skin irritation, eye irritation or intestinal illnesses.