Larry Messina, longtime politics and West Virginia statehouse reporter for the Associated Press, will leave the fourth estate next month to become communications director for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS).
Joe Thornton, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s Secretary of Military Affairs and Public Safety, made the announcement Tuesday afternoon in a press release. Messina starts his new job on Aug. 12.
“I’m excited to have someone with Larry’s knowledge and experience on our team, and I’m pleased he has accepted this opportunity to serve within the Department,” Thornton said in a prepared statement.
Messina has served as the AP’s statehouse reporter since 2002. He’s a 1991 graduate of Wheeling Jesuit College, where he earned a bachelor’s in professional writing. From the press release:
Since 2002, Messina has served as statehouse correspondent for The Associated Press (AP). During his tenure, he pioneered AP’s social media presence in W.Va. and was frequently nominated for AP’s worldwide Beat of the Week award. Prior to working for AP, Messina wrote for the Charleston Gazette from 1993-2002 covering legal affairs and special projects. His reporting earned him numerous awards from the West Virginia Press Association and honors from the American Bar Association, the Institute for Southern Studies, and the Gerald Loeb Foundation for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism.
“I’ve always considered journalism to be a form of public service,” Messina said. “I am grateful for this new opportunity to serve my fellow West Virginians, by working for the men and women who have pledged to protect and defend them.”
Messina and his wife, Lesly, live in Charleston with their daughter, Sophia.