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

The streets of uptown filled with music and color as the annual Charlotte Pride Festival took place this past weekend. Two days of celebration wrapped up with a parade Sunday afternoon, with 170 parade entries and well over 6,000 marchers — a record high.

Moses Apostaticus / Flickr

A small group of white supremacist demonstrators and hundreds of counter protesters marched in the nation’s capital Sunday on the one-year anniversary of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one person dead. There were no organized movements in Charlotte this past weekend, but the reverberations of the events last year are still felt locally. We spoke with people in Charlotte’s University area on their reflections a year later. 

Shreya Mantha

On Youth Day this Sunday, a Charlotte teen will be recognized as the first-ever North Carolina recipient of the Diana Award. Named after the Princess of Wales, the award acknowledges the social activism or humanitarian efforts of outstanding young people world-wide.

Venkat Mangudi / Wikimedia Commons

A dead fetus was found in the bathroom of an American Airlines plane that had left Charlotte for LaGuardia Airport, according to the medical examiner's office in New York. 

American Beauty Garden Center

A man was shot and killed early Monday morning by the owner of a gardening store after police say the man broke into a building off Independence Boulevard.

Campden FB

NASCAR chief executive and chairman Brian France has taken an “indefinite leave of absence” after being charged for driving while intoxicated and criminal drug possession in Long Island, N.Y., Sunday night. 

Department of Justice

The number of pending immigration cases in Mecklenburg County increased by 34 percent the second half of last year — the largest county increase in the country. This data comes at a time when the backlog in immigration courts is the highest it’s ever been nationally.

Erin Keever / WFAE

Following a weeks-long public debate, a heated city council meeting and a final stamp of approval that came Friday, Charlotte will host the 2020 Republican National Convention. But, throughout the debate, city leaders were tight-lipped on details of the event contracts. Now, bid documents and signed agreements give a deeper understanding of how the convention will be run, planned and paid for.

Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
North Carolina Courts

Immigrant advocates are criticizing the actions of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Charlotte earlier this month, after they arrested a woman and her 16-year-old son at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.  

Charlotte has been selected for the 2020 Republican National Convention.
Zuri Berry / WFAE

The site selection committee for the Republican National Committee has chosen Charlotte as its host city for its 2020 national convention, according to multiple media reports.

The Charlotte City Council heard from more than 130 people discussing their support or opposition for the Republican National Convention in 2020.
Jasmin Herrera / WFAE

The Charlotte City Council voted 6-5 in a show of support for the city’s bid for the 2020 Republican National Convention after a week of heated debate among council members over the merits of hosting the convention.

A missionary group from North Albemarle Baptist Church in Stanly County is safe, but stranded in Port-A-Prince, Haiti, amid violent street protests.
Brad Lynch

Members of several church groups from the Carolinas are stuck in Haiti following multiple days of violent protests in the country over high gas prices.  

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE

Government numbers from May show nearly 12,000 minors are in shelters after being apprehended at the country's southern border. That number has grown under President Trump's zero tolerance policy, which aggressively prosecutes more border-crossers and has separated immigrant children from their parents. 

Michael Tomsic

Updated at 5 p.m.

Outgoing Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has been fined $2.75 million following an NFL investigation into sexual and workplace misconduct allegations made against him by former Panthers employees. It's the largest fine in NFL history.

Oliver Merino

Latino voter turnout in Mecklenburg County spiked during the May primary, according to elections data. Experts and organizations are attributing the increase to the Sheriff's race and local immigration policies. Now, election observers are wondering if the momentum will continue into the general election.

Governor Cooper Twitter

Surrounded by educators wearing red, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday his decision to veto the General Assembly’s budget for the next fiscal year.

McDowell County Emergency Management

Emergency services teams are getting a better idea of the toll Subtropical Storm Alberto had on North Carolina’s western counties.

Gwendolyn Glenn/ WFAE

A controversial bill that would allow Mecklenburg County towns to create their own charter schools is likely to pass thanks to a new provision in the proposed state budget that will alleviate one of the bill's main concerns. 

Jessa O'Connor / WFAE


“Meck Dec Day,” a holiday in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County that commemorates the signing of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence on May 20, 1775, was celebrated Sunday by area enthusiasts. Although disputed by historians - and somewhat forgotten by modern Charlotteans - locals still celebrate Mecklenburg’s call for freedom from the British. Some of them do it through a bike ride.

Department of Justice

Three high-ranking leaders of a gang connected to the United Blood Nation, also known as the Bloods, were convicted of racketeering conspiracy charges Thursday, according to a statement released by the Department of Justice.