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

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC as it’s known, held an environmental scoping meeting for the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) on Tuesday, May 12, at Jackson’s Mill in Lewis County. The vast majority of those who spoke said they don’t want to see the pipeline built.


Harrison County landowner Autumn Long said she’s concerned about several aspects of the project, including potential environmental damage. But she also spoke against the idea that the project might supply West Virginian homes and businesses with gas, as she says has been suggested in a report the pipeline company filed about the project.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A national nonprofit group that builds custom houses for severely wounded veterans broke ground Saturday on its first project in West Virginia. Homes for Our Troops will hand over the keys to Sergeant Charles “Doug” Harris later this year. The mortgage-free house in Romney will include hundreds of adaptations specially designed for Harris.


“I was injured May 30 of 2012 — just stepped on an IED.”

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Can service dogs help veterans living with post-traumatic stress disorder function in a civilian work environment? Researchers at West Virginia University are trying to find out.


Sometimes it’s hard to get interviewees to open up when you first meet them. 


“Bella, speak. Oh, inside voices. That’s very good.”


Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

West Virginians can have a say about the environmental impact of the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline at four public meetings.

EQT and its partners want to build a 42-inch diameter, 330-mile pipeline from Wetzel County in West Virginia to Pittsylvania, Virginia.

wikimedia Commons / user: RogDel / Sarah Gerrity / Department of Energy

Students from two Monongalia County schools are representing West Virginia in the National Science Bowl.

The event will be held Friday through next Monday at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

West Virginia University

To recognize the anniversary of the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, West Virginia University is holding a three-day tribute to pioneering African-American student athletes.


Brown v. Board was a watershed moment for civil rights in the U.S. The decision ruled that segregation in schools violated the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which protects citizens’ basic human rights.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Baseball is finally being played at the Monongalia County Ballpark. 


Three years in the making, the new stadium opened Friday, April 10. A capacity crowd of more than 2,500 people watched the West Virginia Mountaineers beat the Butler Bulldogs, 6-5, in 13 innings.

Morgantown Fires
AP Photo / The Dominion Post, Bob Gay

In response to the many street fires following big football and basketball games, Morgantown unanimously passed a law Tuesday, April 7, that bans upholstered furniture outdoors.

Many college seniors have to worry about whether they’re going find a job after they turn their tassel. But some students in a car-building competition are being recruited by the auto industry even before they graduate.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A somewhat mysterious Morgantown landmark was opened up to the public recently. The Calvary Chapel Church is renovating Pietro’s Castle, and more than three hundred people got to see the results for themselves.  

Italian immigrant and stonemason Thoney Pietro earned his slice of the American Dream by building infrastructure across the region, from Mingo County to Pittsburgh. When he retired in 1928, he built a home for his family that reflected his strong Catholic faith, complete with a large cross sitting between two soaring parapets.


Dominion Resources

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is in the final stages of gathering environmental information about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. The debate comes down to more jobs versus the long-term effects of increased gas drilling.

Concerns about safety and damage to the environment were pitted against a desire for economic development and energy independence during a meeting at Bridgeport High School earlier this week. 

Dominion Resources

Members of the public can have their say about a proposed interstate gas pipeline at two meetings next week. 


Dominion Resources is exploring a route for the 42-inch, 550-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline. It would begin in Harrison County and end in North Carolina. The meetings are part of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s environmental review process for the pipeline. 

Brian Turner / Wikimedia Commons

Some southern West Virginia landowners who were threatened with legal action for not allowing pipeline surveyors onto their property have filed their own lawsuits.

Lawyer Derek Teaney, with Appalachian Mountain Advocates, filed paperwork Wednesday on behalf of three couples in Monroe and Summers counties.

December 2012 Sissonville Pipeline Explosion
Associated Press

Two major interstate projects have been proposed for West Virginia: The Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines. The goal is to create infrastructure that can carry natural gas from hydraulic fracturing operations in the Marcellus and Utica shale areas to markets in the East and South East.  

Dominion Resources

The U.S. Forest Service is issuing a permit to survey a 12.6-mile segment of the George Washington National Forest for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline in Highland and Augusta counties, in Virginia.


Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Since news broke about fraternity members using a racist chant in Oklahoma, Sigma Alpha Epsilon has come under fire nationwide. University officials say they haven’t had any trouble with the fraternity’s chapters in West Virginia.

Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC

The U.S. Forest Service extended the comment period on whether portions of the Jefferson National Forest can be surveyed for a possible pipeline route.

A special-use permit would be required before surveying could be done in the national forest for the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline.

The Forest Service's original deadline for comments was Feb. 13. Comments will now be taken until April 2.

The first woman to represent West Virginia in the U.S. Senate gave her inaugural floor speech today Tuesday, March 10. Energy policy was a big part of Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s address. 

Capito said she will focus on improving the state’s roads, broadband access and health care for veterans and children during her time in the Senate. But during her 15-minute speech, U.S. energy policy became a real point of emphasis. 

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC sent out letters threatening legal action against property owners who refused access to their land for surveying. Groups opposed to the pipeline believe there is no basis for legal action. The issue appears far from black and white.

The Mountain Valley Pipeline, or MVP, is a proposed 42-inch diameter, 330-mile line that would connect hydraulic fracturing operations in West Virginia to a transmission pipeline in Virginia. EQT and NextEra Energy are partnering on the project.

West Virginia University

West Virginia University’s independent, student-run record label is up and running. Three artists have already signed up.

The new label is called Mon Hills Records. 

Ron Sachs

A Morgantown woman is representing West Virginia in an international effort to fight extreme poverty in Africa. Jamie Williams was inspired by her faith and her previous volunteer work to take up the cause. 

Williams is a West Virginia University alumna. She made her first lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., in February for the ONE Campaign Summit. Co-founded by U2’s Bono, the ONE Campaign is an international group working to end extreme poverty and disease. Williams was in D.C. to urge members of Congress to take up the Electrify Africa Act.

  Studies show homeschooling is becoming more popular in the U.S. — a trend that West Virginia is following. Advocates are hoping bills recently introduced in the state Legislature will make homeschooling easier. 

  There were about 7,000 children home-schooled in West Virginia during the 2010 academic year. That number rose to about 9,000 in 2013, according to the West Virginia Department of Education. 

A study by the National Center for Education Statistics says almost two million children, or three and a half percent of the U.S. school-age population, were home-schooled in 2012. That’s up from about three percent in 2007. 

The Greenbrier Companies

One of the companies that builds the type of rail tank car involved in Monday’s train derailment in Fayette County is urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to finalize new rules for modernizing those cars.

The Greenbrier Companies based in Lake Oswego, Oregon is one of five manufacturers in North America that produce freight-rail tank cars used for transporting Class I hazardous material such as the Bakken crude oil that spilled in Fayette County. The company also retrofits older tank cars to make them safer.

Their work comes at a point when the federal-level Department of Transportation is developing regulations for phasing out older tank cars and setting increased safety standards for new ones.

Aravind Sivaraj / wikimedia Commons

Imagine you go to pull your social security card or driver's license out of your wallet, and instead find a note demanding money for its return. The digital version of that scenario played out in one business owner's computer.

Ryan Whittington owns and operates Club K-9, a dog-boarding facility in South Charleston. He was blind-sided by the Cryptolocker virus, which is a type of malicious software broadly known as ransomware.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

An Eastern Panhandle distillery decided to close its doors this week because of uncertainty about regulations the owners say are making their business unprofitable.

Distilleries must sell their liquor to the state and buy it back at a 28 percent markup under a provision of the liquor law called bailment. Bloomery Sweetshine Distillery in Jefferson County says that markup has made doing business unsustainable.

U.S. Department of Energy

A Morgantown middle school will represent West Virginia at the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C.

The Suncrest Middle School team won the regional Science Bowl on Saturday. The team competed against eleven others from around the state at West Virginia University. The four eighth-graders and one sixth-grader earned a spot at the national finals in April.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just took another step in helping the state cope with the threat of Ebola.

The CDC designated WVU Hospitals as one of forty-nine Ebola Treatment Centers in the U.S.

WVU Hospitals says in a news release that theirs is the only medical center in West Virginia to earn the designation. The nearest centers until now were in Washington D.C. and Cleveland.

401(K) 2012 /

A public-private partnership to identify and provide help for at-risk Medicaid patients was announced Wednesday.

The state has teamed up with the nonprofit company Partners in Health Network. Cabinet Secretary Karen Bowling, with the Department of Health and Human Resources, explained the program. She said the first step is to identify Medicaid patients who visit emergency rooms often.

Prison Bars
Schavda / wikimedia Commons

State officials have decided against housing some inmates outside the state.

In 2013, West Virginia had asked national companies to bid on sending West Virginia inmates to their out-of-state facilities in the hopes of curbing the state over crowding problem. The proposal envisioned the short-term transfer of up to 400 inmates who agreed to the move to receive educational and rehabilitative programs.