ATLANTA — Michael Virtanen, a veteran journalist with extensive experience covering state government, has been named correspondent in Morgantown, W.Va., for The Associated Press.

The appointment was announced Wednesday by Ravi Nessman, AP’s interim editor for the south region, and Scott Stroud, news editor for Appalachia.

“Michael is a veteran who has excelled in one of the most competitive media environments in the country. We are excited to bring his sharp eye and his strong accountability reporting to bear in our coverage of West Virginia and the Appalachian region as a whole,” Nessman said.

Virtanen moves to Morgantown from Albany, N.Y., where he has worked for the AP since 2001 as a statehouse reporter, staff writer and desk editor. He has been named the AP’s New York employee of the year twice and has supervised the state news desk in Albany, editing stories from staff writers and correspondents.

A graduate of Colgate University, Virtanen also studied at the University of Georgia and earned a master’s degree in English from the State University of New York. He has dabbled in poetry and fiction and published a novel, “The River’s Tale,” in 2013.

Virtanen will start his new assignment Oct. 17.