CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia journalist lost her job last month after she reported about alleged abuse of people with disabilities within the state agency that runs West Virginia’s foster care and psychiatric facilities.
Amelia Ferrell Knisely, a reporter at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, said she was told to stop reporting on the Department of Health and Human Resources after leaders of the embattled agency “threatened to discredit” the publicly funded television and radio network. She later learned her part-time position was being eliminated.
In a statement, Knisely said her news director told her the order came from WVPB Executive Director Butch Antolini, former communications director for Republican Gov. Jim Justice. Antolini has served as executive director since 2021, when his predecessor was ousted after Justice overhauled the agency’s governing board.
Justice has tried unsuccessfully to eliminate state funding for WVPB in the past and was accused of appointing partisan operatives to the board. WVPB receives around $4 million a year in state funding.