WVIA News Awarded Grant for Full-Time Journalist Members News January 29, 2024 WVIA was recently awarded a grant through the Williamsport Lycoming Competitive Grant Program at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania to support the addition of a dedicated, full-time WVIA News reporter to exclusively cover Williamsport and the Lycoming County region. The position has now been filled by Chase Bottorf, a Lock Haven native, providing dedicated WVIA News coverage to the area. Bottorf is a graduate of Lock Haven University and holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in writing. Having previously been a reporter for the Lock Haven news publication, The Express, he comes with an existing awareness of the unique issues in the Lycoming County region, and has ties to the local communities. “I am extremely excited to work for WVIA in bolstering community-based reporting in Northcentral Pennsylvania,” said Bottorf. “While working with the station, under the NPR/PBS umbrella, I hope to achieve greater transparency within the community and tackle stories that will benefit the area as a whole. This, and at the same time, garner experience that will help push my boundaries in the field of journalism overall.” Mr. Bottorf will be responsible for reporting and producing stories exclusive to the Lycoming County region on WVIA’s radio and digital platforms. He will focus on the many complexities of the Williamsport area by providing in-depth coverage of local issues and community engagement opportunities with residents of the region. Bottorf will work out of the WVIA Studios Lycoming County Bureau in the Community Arts Center on West 4th Street in Williamsport. Bucking the national trends of shrinking staff and non-local ownership groups, WVIA has grown – and is quickly becoming the source for balanced, local news throughout the 22-county region it serves. Founded in 2022, WVIA News has grown to a team of six full-time journalists in less than two years. “First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania is thrilled to support WVIA’s continued expansion into Lycoming County,” stated Betty Gilmour, Director of Grantmaking, First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania. “With a dedicated journalist closely involved in the greater Williamsport and surrounding area, residents will become more knowledgeable about the place they call home, opening new avenues to a more connected community.” This is the second grant-funded news position for WVIA News since its founding in 2022. These additions to WVIA’s growing news department are evidence of the level of support from donors and the community for local non-profit journalism, and the level of commitment from WVIA to fill the need for such.