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.

Ways to Connect

Jessa O'Connor/ WFAE

A Butler High School student was fatally shot during a fight with another student around 7 a.m. Monday.

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

As districts like Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools look for ways to close student achievement gaps, they are trying to make sure that each student has access to a quality in-school education. But research shows that what’s offered out of school for students is just as important as what’s taught in school.

UNC President Margaret Spellings joined Charlotte Talks Monday, March 19, 2018.
Erin Keever / WFAE

The UNC System Board of Governors has approved the terms of separation for UNC system president Margaret Spellings after a two-hour closed session Friday morning.

Voting Machines
Flickr / Phil Roeder

County elections directors are urging voters to double-check their ballots after some early voters complained of mistakes.

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

The vice chair of the Mecklenburg County Republican Party said Tuesday evening that she was a victim of sexual assault who, along with other members of her party, supported the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.

North Carolina Department of Public Safety

Former Carolina Panthers receiver Rae Carruth was 25 years old the day a Mecklenburg County jury found him guilty of conspiring to kill Cherica Adams in 2001. He’s 44 now and Monday morning was released from the Sampson Correctional Institution in Clinton, North Carolina.

Erin Keever / WFAE

Early voting started Oct. 17 for the 2018 midterm election in North Carolina. The general election will take place Tuesday, Nov. 6. Here’s what voters in Mecklenburg County need to know in order to prepare.

Jess Clark / WUNC

North Carolina voters will get the chance to elect justices to the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals. North Carolinians will also be asked if they’re “for or against” six proposed amendments to the state Constitution.

The North Carolina legislative building is seen in Raleigh.

There are 12 House districts within Mecklenburg County and five Senate districts. Democrats view the midterm election as crucial to breaking the Republican supermajority in the General Assembly. Right now, Republicans have enough representatives in the General Assembly to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper if he vetoes their legislation. Democrats are trying to change that by identifying key districts throughout the state they could flip.

The U.S. capitol building.
Architect of the Capitol / Wikipedia

North Carolinians will vote on all 13 Congressional districts in November. Here's a look at the notable Congressional races from districts in and around Mecklenburg County and who else is on the ballot.

The Charlotte skyline.
Flickr/Charlie Cowins

There are three bonds that will appear on the November ballot for residents of Charlotte that will address housing, transportation and infrastructure. Here's a look at all three.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center

Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners:

Why these races are important: The Board of County Commissioners oversees funding for county programs and services. A change in leadership could impact how funds are distributed to different county entities, which includes funding for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the operation and oversight of the Mecklenburg County Health Department.

City of New Bern Twitter

For people severely impacted by Hurricane Florence, voting may be the last thing on their minds. But state and county elections boards are working hard make sure people know their options.

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

As the Charlotte population steadily grows and becomes more diverse, so do the students that attend Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The achievement gap that exists for English language learners, minority students and low-income students has also grown and has become apparent within the school system. To address the gap, some CMS schools have turned to dual language programs and have found success.

Winds from Florence sent a tree crashing down on Nichole Sanchez's rental home on the night of Sept 14.
Nichole Sanchez

After devastating storms like Florence, financial assistance from traditional organizations like the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency can take awhile. The process can also be complicated — and that’s if you’re even eligible.

ECU officials announced a mandatory evacuation notice for students. Residence halls are closing starting 10 a.m. Wednesday.
East Carolina University

Updated 2 p.m. on Sept. 13

Universities around North Carolina have been making preparations ahead of Hurricane Florence, which has been upgraded to a Category 4 major hurricane with maximum possible wind speeds of up to 130 miles per hour.  

FILE: Rakeyia Scott addressed reporters at the north Charlotte apartment complex where her husband was shot in September 2016.
Nick de la Canal / WFAE

The widow of Keith Scott has filed a lawsuit against the city and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer involved in the 2016 shooting that set off a string of protests and riots.

Arizona Senator John McCain is escorted to his seat during the weekly Marine Corps Sunset parade at the Marine Corps War Memorial Aug. 3, 2009.
United States Marine Corps

Arizona Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain died Saturday night at the age of 81.

McCain was diagnosed with an aggressive type of brain cancer more than a year ago. His office had announced Friday that he would discontinue his medical treatment.

After news broke of his death, a swell of support arose – a number of statements coming in from local leaders.

Jess Clark / WUNC

All of the living former state Supreme Court Chief Justices have voiced their opposition to two of the six proposed amendments to the state constitution. The opposition comes as Republican leaders in the General Assembly are gearing up to re-write the amendments, after this week’s ruling to keep them off of the November ballot.

Justin Bamberg
Gwendolyn Glenn / WFAE News

The attorney for the family of Keith Lamont Scott, a black man who was fatally shot by police in Charlotte in 2016, says he is finalizing the paperwork to sue the city and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department by the end of the month.