Ellen Heffernan

Mountain State Spotlight

Reporter Profile

Ellie Heffernan is Mountain State Spotlight’s community watchdog reporter, based in Charleston, West Virginia.  She is a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where she studied journalism and environmental studies. Ellie has written for several publications in North Carolina, including INDY Week, The Local Reporter, The UNC Institute for the Environment, and The Daily Tar Heel, and was also a MDDC Press Association Reese Cleghorn Intern at The Daily Record in Baltimore, Maryland, for which she was recognized for her reporting on the area’s independent music venues. In her spare time, she likes reading, playing her clarinet or guitar, and hanging out with her cat, Franklin. She can also (kind-of) speak four languages: Macedonian, French, English, and Wolof.

Beat: Watchdog and community reporting in rural West Virginia

This Report for America Corps member will write watchdog stories from communities that have been forgotten by much of West Virginia’s media, but that are interested in and affected by our journalism. Relying heavily on engagement journalism, this reporter will help us earn the trust of these communities, telling their stories and providing them with information they need to make their towns stronger.