Jessica Lilly

Southern West Virginia Bureau Chief

Jessica Lilly covers southern West Virginia for West Virginia Public Radio and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning, the station’s daily radio news program, and during afternoon newscasts.

Jessica joined WV PBS in 2008 as the Southern West Virginia Bureau Chief. She’s committed to reporting stories from the people in her region and across the state and is passionate about following issues and developments in mine and worker safety.

Jessica was chosen by the West Virginia Associated Press in 2013 as the winner of the Significant Impact Award for her influence on broadcasting in the state. She was also the winner of the 2013 Associated Press Best Reporter, Best Enterprise Reporting and Best Feature Runner-Up.

In 2011 Jessica was recognized by the Associated Press as Runner-Up for Best Reporter and in 2012 was recognized for Best Breaking News Coverage.

While studying broadcasting, public relations and business administration at Concord University, Jessica worked as the weekend producer and fill in reporter for WVNS-TV in Raleigh County. She went on to work as a full time reporter for WVNS-TV for about a year.  

Jessica graduated from Concord University in 2007, where she was named Concord University’s Reporter of the Year and Producer of the Year.

Born in Bluefield, WV Jessica grew up in the coalfields of West Virginia and Wyoming County. She was always busy with activities such as cheerleading, or theatre.

When she’s not reporting, Jessica advises Concord University's online radio webstream and teaches communications classes at the school. She enjoys attending sporting events and theatre productions, singing, antiquing, skiing, riding ATV’s, and traveling with family.

Ways to Connect

Danny Lyon / US National Archives

On this  episode of the Inside Appalachia podcast, we talk immigration, migration and what it could all mean for Appalachia.


40 North/ Champaign County Arts Council

This week on Inside Appalachia, we'll hear stories of women whose grit and determination changed their own lives - and changed other people's lives, too. We’ll hear from women who overcame a lot of challenges to succeed as students, musicians, entrepreneurs and educators.

Jessica Lilly

In this week’s Inside Appalachia we take a look at first generation college students.  We’ll hear about challenges that first generation college students are going through, and how some colleges and universities are trying to help these students stay in school.

Derek Cline/ Inside Appalachia

So how do you say Appalachia? This week, our episode is about the many different accents, and pronunciations, of Appalachia. Many of those interviewed for the show said they have very strong feelings about pronunciation.

Inside Appalachia’s host Jessica Lilly found six known pronunciations of the word Appalachia. Yes, that's right, six different ways to say it:

Scotty White / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has some of the best settings for scary stories, including dark underground coal mines and remote forests. There are hundreds of remarkably bizarre, mysterious ghost tales that take place here in West Virginia. And maybe the most fascinating part is, for some of these tales, there’s historical evidence that says they might have actually happened.

West Virginia is struggling to keep up with the demand for treatment options for recovering addicts and if you’re a woman needing help, those options are even more scarce. Including co-ed, women and children, there are a total of 269 recovery beds for women, according the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services (DHHR).

Mountain Stage/ Pat Sergent

In this episode of Inside Appalachia, we'll hear why Davis and Elkins College offers a unique type of scholarship for students who play traditional folk music. And we’ll hear about a new tourism music trail in West Virginia called The Mountain Music Trail.

Mountain Stage

The West Virginia Division of Tourism and West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Mountain Stage teamed up to promote the Mountain Music Trail and the state’s music heritage. They’ve been working to create videos from stops along the trail. This week, hear Mountain Stage’s Vasilia Scouras share more about the videos on this week's Inside Appalachia.

Jessica Lilly

Prosecutors continued to call witnesses on the tenth day of the trial against former Massey Energy CEO, Don Blankenship. Prosecutor Steve Ruby picked back up with questioning of Mine Safety and Health inspector Keith McElroy. McElroy was one of the investigators of the Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion that killed 29 men.

Charleston Newspapers

What should children learn in school? It’s a question that’s stirred debate for decades, and in 1974 it led to violent protests in West Virginia. People planted bombs in schools, shot at buses, and shut down coal mines. This week on Inside Appalachia, we feature Charleston native Trey Kay, the host of Us and Them.

Courtesy of Fret and Fiddle

This week on Inside Appalachia we pay tribute to fiddler Joe Dobbs, who passed away September 21st at the age of 81. For 25 years he hosted a radio show, called Music From the Mountains, on West Virginia Public Broadcasting.

Andy Todd

Food deserts: it’s more than just an urban issue. Hey, we all have to eat. This week, we’re bringing you an encore presentation from the Inside Appalachia archives about Appalachian food deserts.  In Appalachia, where green forests grow abundantly, food is scarce for many. Throughout Appalachia, grocery stores are disappearing. This week on Inside Appalachia we're looking at some ways communities are resolving to take matters in their own hands.

AP Photo/Jeff Gentner, File / AP

Once he was considered untouchable, but next week former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is scheduled to go on trial on conspiracy to violate mine safety standards and conspiracy to impede federal mine safety officials charges. Blankenship denies the charges.

Those charges stem from an investigation that followed the Upper Big Branch Disaster that killed 29 men in 2010. It’s a trial that folks in the coalfields never thought would happen.

In this episode, we take a look back at how we got here and talk about the significance of this case.  You can also hear part of a special investigative series of reports about outlaw coal mining companies, that keep operating despite injuries, violations and millions of dollars in fines.

courtesy Kaitlen Whitt

How do the wordsmiths of today describe Appalachians? The people who don't let a day go by without putting down on paper a song, or a rhyme, or a tale that they just had to get off their chest? What kind of worlds do they create in their writings?


You’re probably well aware that in places like southern West Virginia, it’s really tough right now for coal miners, their families and many communities. So many miners have been laid off these past few years, and those who have a job don’t have a lot of hope that they will be able to keep what they have for much longer.

Jesse Anderson

Across the country, there’s been sweeping change in the last few years in the way the law treats gay people - and how society in general feels about gay relationships. Here in Appalachia, the acceptance of this change has been mixed.

West Virginia University, Douglas Arbogast

This time of year, it’s the perfect temperature for people to gather on their back deck, maybe over some drinks, to play music. So for this week's episode of Inside Appalachia, Jessica Lilly and Roxy Todd spent some time uncovering a few, shall we say, mysteries behind Appalachian music. We’ll also hear how young people are reviving this old time music.

Ashley Biega

Young people are leaving Appalachia — and they have been for years. We hear lots of stories of once-bustling boom towns in Appalachia. On this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we hear from people who moved away from Appalachia, share their stories about why they left and how they cope with longing for home.

Daniel Walker/WVPB

Have you ever heard of a pepperoni roll? If you haven’t, then you’re not from West Virginia.

Daniel Walker/WVPB

This week, Inside Appalachia is featuring some incredible stories about dogs that help people heal. Like Paca, who helps children overcome emotional trauma and even helps encourage them to read. And we'll travel to a special cemetery, reserved only for coonhound dogs.