About Coal Tattoo

kenwardhedshot.jpgThis Charleston Gazette blog attempts to build on the newspaper’s longtime coverage of all things coal — with a focus on mountaintop removal, coal-mine safety and climate change.

Staff writer Ken Ward Jr., a native of Piedmont in Mineral County, W.Va., has covered the Appalachian coal industry for nearly 20 years.

Ward is a three-time winner of the Scripps Howard Foundation’s Edward J. Meeman Award for Environmental Reporting. He has also received the Livingston Award for Young Journalists, an Investigative Reporters and Editors medal, and an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship.

Coal Tattoo takes its name from the Billy Ed Wheeler song, which was recently recorded by West Virginia native Kathy Mattea. (To listen to the song hit the Audio MP3 button below.)

Thanks to Dennis Dimick of National Geographic for the photo of the mountaintop removal site near Kayford, W.Va., and to the Gazette’s Brenda Pinnell for designing the masthead.

The coal miner pictured on the masthead is Bud Morris, whose death in December 2005 was part of a Gazette examination of coal-mine safety published after the Sago Mine disaster in 2006. Special thanks to his widow, Stella Morris, for permission to use this family photo.

If you want to send an e-mail to Ward, click here.