Zoë Read is WHYY’s watershed reporter.
She joined WHYY in 2015 as a multimedia reporter covering Delaware news for the web and FM.
Zoë’s expansive reporting coverage ranged from efforts to legalize marijuana in the State House and the high-profile Matusiewicz trial, to feature profiles on dancers and musicians and a feature on speed dating for people over 70.
The feature story on speed dating for seniors won 1st Place in the National Federation of Press Women contest in 2016.
Zoë is most passionate about giving a voice to underserved individuals and communities and shedding a light on injustice.
In 2017, she won a 1st Place NFPW award for a five-part series on sex trafficking in Delaware. The series followed a woman who escaped “the life” decades after being trafficked as a young teenager, and a Black transgender woman who had been involved in sex work since the age of 16 after running away from foster care. The story tracked efforts to combat abuse and stigma and highlight the women’s resilience.
Zoë won a 1st Place NFPW award in 2020 for a story that explored gender and racial disparities within the hiring, promotion, and tenure system at the University of Delaware, and universities nationwide.
In 2019, she explored private well contamination in Sussex County. Many residents did not have access to public water and had to rely on wells. Low-income communities were hit hardest because they could not afford systems to clean their water. Despite outcry for environmental justice, these communities went years without help. After the story was published, the University of Delaware sent aid to one of the communities featured in the story.
In 2020, Zoë began reporting on the entire region.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoë was part of a team of health reporters answering listener and reader questions about the vaccine and reported on numerous news features and enterprise stories about coronavirus.
That same year, Zoë won awards for a story on a decades-old policy that banned gay and bi men from donating blood and plasma, a feature on how physical distancing impacted faith leaders, and an enterprise story on the need for compensation for wrongly convicted individuals.
Zoë also was part of a team of three reporters who honored the lives of those lost to COVID-19 for WHYY’s award-winning obituary series.
Prior to working at WHYY, Zoë was a general assignment reporter for The Capital newspaper in Annapolis Maryland. Her favorite stories include a report on a Maryland jail offering methadone treatment for the first time in the state, and a feature on a 91-year-old man who ran a speakeasy-style bar in the basement of his house in the middle of nowhere.
Zoë’s work has also been featured in the Atlantic, the Washington Post, the Seattle Times, the Daily Mail, the Detroit News, and the Kansas City Star.
Zoë is an alumna of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she wrote her 6,000-word capstone project on HIV/AIDS in Harlem, and where she was one of the first reporters to write about the expansion of conservative fashion for Muslim women in the United States. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, where she wrote for the Review newspaper for four years and was the managing editor of the features section.
Zoë grew up in the U.K. and has dual citizenship. She was a former competitive figure skater and dancer, which she still enjoys today. When Zoë is not working, or dancing, she enjoys Broadway, theatre, opera, concerts, dance performances, comedy, drag, visiting art museums and galleries, traveling, and going out to dinner, especially if it’s Indian cuisine.