Ken Ward Jr. is a distinguished fellow in ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. Previously, he was the longtime environmental and investigative reporter at The Charleston Gazette and Gazette-Mail. Ward worked as part of ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network in 2018 on a series about West Virginia’s natural gas industry and in 2019 and 2020 on an investigation of the business empire of the state’s governor, Jim Justice.
A West Virginia native, Ward is also co-founder of Mountain State Spotlight, a statewide nonprofit civic news organization. In 2018, he received a MacArthur Fellowship – the so-called “genius grant” – for “revealing the human and environmental toll of natural resource extraction in West Virginia and spurring greater accountability among private stakeholders.”
Ward is also three-time winner of the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Edward J. Meeman Award for Environmental Reporting. In 2000, he received the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for reporting on the environmental damage caused by mountaintop removal coal mining. In 2006, while funded by an Alicia Patterson Fellowship, he was awarded an Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal for his work investigating coal mining deaths.