Mountain Reporting

Mason Adams writes. Mason Adams makes a podcast. Mason Adams raises goats. What can he not do? Adams is a freelance writer living in Southwest Virginia and covering the area from the ground up. Stellar work for Politico Magazine, the Washington Post, the New Republic, the Daily Yonder, Vice, 100 Days in Appalachia, Blue Ridge Outdoors, All About Beer and elsewhere. He even wrote something for Between Coasts a while back.

Adams, a former wildlife biologist turned journalist with years at the Enterprise Mountaineer and the Roanoke Times, is rooted in his place and work shows it. In a smart story for The New Republic, Adams wrote about West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s successful re-election bid last summer. In another, he reported on counter-protests to a rally by white supremacists in Pikeville, Kentucky, and how policing these rallies can be different in rural America. And now he’s got a podcast called Blue Ridge Free State, covering “politics, culture, history, and life” in Appalachia.

In a story for Belt Magazine, Adams reported on Red and Minor Terry, two people who didn’t want the Mountain Valley Pipeline to cut across their land as it pumps natural gas across West Virginia and swath of south western Virginia. The Terry’s filed complaints, went to protests, organized, and, eventually, when they felt they had no other choice, set up shop in the trees for 34 days.

What’s important about this reporting is that it counters popular narratives about Appalachia and tells the tales of those people who do wish their communities to be used, who do not wish to be a place of extraction. And so Red and Minor sat in those trees. They were forced down eventually, and Adams covered that moment closely.