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Get to know Justin Hicks, the new data reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource

Courtesy Justin Hicks

Louisville Public Media has hired Justin Hicks to be the new data reporter for the Ohio Valley Resource, Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and WFPL.

Hicks comes to the region from Indiana Public Broadcasting, where he covered workforce issues for their statewide network.

In his new role, Hicks will balance long-term projects, deep-dive investigations and collaborate with reporters with data-focused stories.

"We are thrilled to bring Justin onto the team," said Ryland Barton, managing editor of collaboratives at Louisville Public Media. "He knows how to dig for and make sense of data, untangle complex subjects and tell compelling stories. He will be a great resource for our newsrooms and communities across the region."

Hicks has a master's degree from NYU and a bachelor's in music from Appalachian State University where he played trumpet and developed a love for hiking in Appalachia. He's also worked as a music teacher.

We asked Hicks five critical questions to help you get to know him as a person and a journalist.

In 10 words or fewer, who is Justin Hicks? Justin is a crossword puzzling, distance running, coffee-swilling data nerd. (I’m counting the compound adjective as one word.) 

Did you always want to be a journalist? If not, what first? I didn’t always want to do journalism! I went to undergrad for music education and was pretty convinced I’d be a middle/high school band director.

We hear you like hiking. Any particular trails or parks you'd recommend? Some favorite recent hikes: Big South Fork on the Kentucky/Tennessee border, Grayson Highlands in VA, and for more “urban” exploration, the Camino de Santiago via the Portuguese route.

What do you wish we, as a state, country or society, had better data on? There’s so many things it’s hard to choose, but I’ve noticed big gaps in unemployment data. In the monthly BLS surveys I wish we included questions on why people are unemployed so we knew not just how many people are impacted, but the reasons why they’re impacted.

Preferred power: teleportation or flying? I’m a “the journey is the destination” kind of guy so I’d have to go with flying. Teleporting would take away all that transition time you get to let your mind wander creatively — plus it would probably effectively kill radio.

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