Stamper works with a five-member reporting team, and others across the newsroom, to plan and execute high-impact investigative and enterprise journalism. Additionally, he oversees the newspaper’s coverage of state politics and government, and works to help the newsroom find ways to engage readers on social media.
Stamper began his newspaper career as an advertising inserter and delivery boy during high school for The Wayne County Outlook in Monticello, Ky. He has been in a variety of jobs at the Herald-Leader since graduating in 2000 with degrees in journalism and government from Western Kentucky University, where he was editor-in-chief of the award-winning College Heights Herald. During college, he was a member of the 1998 winter/spring class of the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism and interned at the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau. He also held summer reporting internships at The Outlook, the Peoria Journal-Star, the Herald-Leader and the San Jose Mercury News.
He spent eight years as a reporter at the Herald-Leader, covering technology and utilities on the business desk, regional growth and development on the metro desk, and state government as the Capitol Bureau Chief. In 2005, he was the lead reporter on a year-long project — “Win, lose or draw: Gambling for jobs” — that won the 2006 Society of American Business Editors and Writers’ Best in Business contest for best special project among newspapers with a circulation of 125,000 and below.
Stamper became Government Editor in 2008 and Accountability Editor in 2011. In 2012 and 2013, he oversaw an ambitious 13-chapter series about the woes of Eastern Kentucky called Fifty Years of Night. He also transformed the series into an innovative publish-as-you-go e-book that has sold hundreds of copies. The series helped spur an ongoing bipartisan initiative, called Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR), to diversify the economy of Eastern Kentucky, which has lost more than half of its coal mining jobs in recent years.
As deputy editor for accountability and engagement, Stamper oversaw publication of a three-part series in 2016 called Harvesting Tax Breaks. The investigation found that a tax break intended to save productive farms for future generations instead often winds up benefiting developers or the owners of suburban homes surrounded by vast lawns. The series sparked immediate reforms in Lexington and was awarded a McClatchy President’s Award.
Stamper lives in Lexington with his wife and two children.