Scott Finn

Executive Director and CEO

Scott Finn is executive director and CEO of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, an indispensable resource for education, news, public safety and economic development for West Virginia and all of Appalachia.

He describes himself as a "recovering reporter," serving stints as news director at WUSF in Tampa, news director and reporter for West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and statehouse reporter for the Charleston Gazette.

As a journalist, Finn received several national awards, including the Fred M. Hechinger Grand Prize for Distinguished Education Reporting from the Education Writers of America, two awards from Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Gerald Loeb Award for excellence in business reporting, and the Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for Excellence in Reporting on Drug and Alcohol Problems.

Finn served as a AmeriCorps-VISTA member in Big Ugly Creek, West Virginia (it's actually a small, beautiful place); founded and ran an AmeriCorps program called APPALREAD; and was a sixth grade social studies and English teacher.

He also was a really, really bad whitewater rafting guide.

Finn, his wife, Wendy, and children, Max and Iris, live in Charleston, West Virginia.

Ways to Connect

Samantha Brookover and Amanda Abramovich received more than a marriage certificate when they went to the courthouse in Gilmer County, W.Va.

Deputy Clerk Debbie Allen also gave them a piece of her mind.

The couple says Allen "for two to three minutes, yelled that what they were doing was wrong in her eyes and in God’s eyes and that no one in Gilmer County would ever marry them." Allen eventually gave them the certificate.

PBS

Amber Miller admits she was no angel. She hung out with the wrong crowd. She used drugs.

When she was 20, she went to prison for stealing $30 from her grandmother.

But 12 years later, she is still labeled as a felon. And that's hurt her ability to find work.

A bi-partisan group of state lawmakers is sponsoring a "second chance" bill. It would allow first-time, non-violent felons to ask a judge to expunge their record a certain time after release.

Does the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protect religious expression, or allow people to discriminate against certain groups?

On this Snowmaggedon edition of The Front Porch:

1. A huge snowball fight breaks out over Right to Work, and whether it is right for West Virginia

2. Does Sen. Chris Walter's bill to expand broadband internet access stand a snowball's chance in hell? Should it?

Governor Tomblin
AP Photo / Tyler Evert

It’s the second Legislature with Republicans in charge and the swan song for Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, all in the middle of the biggest budget crisis in a generation.

In this week’s “Front Porch Podcast,” we debate the 5 biggest issues of this legislative session, and how they may affect your lives (in reverse order of importance.)

5. Tobacco tax increase – Gov. Tomblin proposed a 45 cent increase to $1 a pack. That’s lower than what many Democrats asked for, and some Republicans want no increase at all.

What is West Virginia’s most valuable resource?

What do Don Blankenship, heroin, and pepperoni rolls have in common? They’re all on our highly-unscientific list of top stories for 2015.

West Virginia is likely to become the 26th “right-to-work” state when the legislature meets in January. GOP leaders say they have the votes, and they can override Gov. Tomblin’s veto with a simple majority.

How would passing a right-to-work (RTW) law change West Virginia?

Jody Lee Hunt gunned down his ex-girlfriend, two of her lovers and his main competitor in one day. The 2014 slayings near Morgantown are just one example of mass shootings in America.

But are mass shootings more common in gun-rich Appalachia? And are we more likely to target strangers or the people we know and love?

Find out by listening to this week's episode of The Front Porch podcast.

lifelinesyria.ca

W.Va. Delegate Joshua Nelson, R-Boone, has launched a petition seeking to stop Syrian refugees from coming into America, at least until better safeguards are in place.

His experience serving in the military informed his decision, he said.

"Most people in that area just want to live peaceful lives. I've served with Middle Eastern people, Islamic people, that had my back," Nelson said

"But, in regards to what happened in Paris, these guys are posing as Syrian refugees. Until we are certain that (screening) process is adequate, we have to be very careful."

Wv Broadband Mapping Project

West Virginia has some of the lowest rates of broadband access at some of the slowest speeds in the nation.

Sen. Chris Walters, R-Putnam, wants state government to build a sort of fiber-optic interstate highway and then lease it to private providers. The goal is to bring high internet speeds at cheaper costs.

On The Front Porch podcast, Walters gave ten reasons for building the network:

Last week, The Front Porch focused on the issue of school consolidation, in light of the ongoing fight in Fayette County.

Many people took issue with the fact that we had no one from Fayette County on the show. So we're hoping to rectify that with this follow-up podcast.

Ohio River
YiFeiBot / wikimedia commons

Seven public media stations in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, including West Virginia Public Broadcasting, have been awarded a $445,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to establish a regional journalism collaboration.

Craig Cunningham / Charleston Gazette-Mail

As Fayette County fights over school consolidation, The Front Porch gang questions whether the promises made about school consolidation ever came true.*

Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, West Virginia Penitentiary,  Mothman...our region has a long list of haunts and haints.

David Grubb via Facebook

        

What impact will President Obama's new strategy have on the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse and heroin use in West Virginia and Appalachia?

Jim Justice
Scott Halleran / Getty Images

West Virginia’s only billionaire, who just happens to be running for governor, owns companies that have millions in unpaid tax bills.

Fotolia DollarPhoto Club

    

West Virginia has the worst unemployment rate in the nation. Patriot Coal warned 2,000+ employees they might be losing their jobs.

What can West Virginia do to turn things around?

Find the entire episode of Us & Them here.

Filmmaker and journalist Roopa Gogineni usually covers civil wars in Africa. But when she saw Ferguson, Baltimore and the fight over the Confederate flag, she decided it was time to cover America's ongoing Civil War.

You may have heard about the scandal involving Volkswagen cheating on emissions standards. But did you know that WVU researchers helped catch VW in the act?

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