Jessa O'Connor

Assistant Digital News Editor

Jessa O’Connor is the Assistant Editor, Digital News and Engagement for WFAE. She joined the team in 2018 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned a degree in broadcast journalism and worked for her college radio news station. Jessa won national awards for her college news coverage, including “First Place in Radio” from the Hearst Journalism Awards Program and “Best Radio News Reporting” from the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Bladen County Sheriff's Office

More than three months have passed since the 2018 midterm elections and North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District is still without a representative in the U.S. House. After an investigation and an eventful four-day hearing found evidence of ballot fraud in the midterm race, the state elections board decided that there will be a new election in the district come this fall.

North Carolina State Board of Elections and Enforcement Facebook

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced his appointments to the new state board of elections Jan. 31. The new board now consists of five members instead of the previous nine.

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

For some, All-Star weekend is a chance to experience a celebrity sighting or buy merchandise representing their favorite NBA player. For others, it's all about the dunk contest or Sunday’s game. But for a few families, the weekend comes down to one simple thing: a love of the game that spans generations.

Spectrum Center

For the first time in nearly 30 years, Charlotte’s hosting the NBA All-Star Game. The event, which will last four days from Friday to Monday (Feb. 14 to Feb. 17) and is expected to have a $100 million economic impact on the city, is set to take over uptown. With more than 150,000 expected visitors and numerous parties, Charlotteans will undoubtedly feel the game’s presence as they try to navigate their weekends.

Brookings Institution / Flickr

Gov. Roy Cooper today appointed Justice Cheri Beasley to serve as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, making her the first African-American woman to hold the position.

Police cars are stationed outside of Butler High School after a shooting Monday morning.

In an effort to bolster school security measures, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has now launched safety screenings in the district’s 19 high schools.

North Carolina Gun Memorial

Charlotte saw a nearly 35 percent decrease in homicides last year. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say there were 57 homicides in 2018, down from 87 in the previous year.


The past year was chock full of news, and in 2019 we know the news won’t slow down. We expect more breaking news and impactful stories, a host of which will be rolling over from 2018. Here are the stories our team already knows we’ll be following in the new year.

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles marked the end of 2018 in office Monday morning. Lyles said in a news conference she counts the year as a success and highlighted the more than $200 million of bond money passed in November to address a shortage of affordable housing and city infrastructure needs, and the 3,500 jobs brought to Charlotte in December alone.

Billy Graham Evangelical Association/ DeMoss

From breaking news like the death of world-renowned Evangelical leader Rev. Billy Graham and the October shooting at Butler High School in Matthews to issues that continue to impact the Charlotte area like the affordable housing crisis and tolls on Interstate 77, WFAE has brought you the news of it all.

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a long history of giving minority students access to education. But as HBCUs around the country face financial hardships, loss of accreditation and even — for a few — closure, some schools are turning to a new community for recruitment: Latino students. That includes Johnson C. Smith University in west Charlotte.

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

Monday is Charlotte’s birthday. To mark the Town of Charlotte’s founding 250 years ago, local government and several groups are throwing a big party uptown — at the intersection of Trade and Try­on — and everyone’s invited.

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

Public faith in Facebook has been rocky in 2018, amid scandals involving data breaches and the spread of misinformation. Despite a rocky year, some in Charlotte remain loyal to — and active on — the platform, including small businesses.

UNC Charlotte

In a decision that’s not entirely unexpected, UNC Charlotte is letting go of head coach Brad Lambert and is opening up a national search to fill the position immediately.

Union County

The county manager for Union County has left the job, doing so just months before she was set to retire.

File: Bank of America Headquarters
Nick de la Canal / WFAE

A Colorado man is suing Bank of America over trademarks for its use of Erica, the virtual assistant the Charlotte-based bank created to help customers who use its mobile app.

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

Family, friends and classmates of Bobby McKeithen held a vigil last night at Camp Greene Park in west Charlotte.

The crowd gathered to light candles, sing and remember the 16-year-old who was shot and killed during a fight with fellow student Jatwan Cuffie, who’s also 16.

Shreya Mantha

A Charlotte high school student is among a list of ten people to receive L'Oréal Paris’ Women of Worth award.

In addition to being a senior at Providence Day School, 17-year-old Shreya Mantha is the founder of Foundation for Girls, a non-profit that aims to “change the life trajectory of at-risk girls and youth” through programs that teach financial literacy, digital skills, leadership, and health and well-being.

Public Defender Joel Adelman talks about Jatwan Cuffie's case.
Cole del Charco / WFAE

Updated: 3:40 p.m.

The firearm used at a deadly shooting at Butler High School Monday was stolen from a car in Gaston County, according to the Matthews Police Department.