The Associated Press has named Claire Galofaro, a veteran newspaper reporter who has covered criminal justice and social service issues, as its administrative correspondent for Kentucky and Tennessee. She will be based in her hometown of Louisville.

The appointment was announced Tuesday by South Region Editor Lisa Marie Pane and Tennessee-Kentucky News Editor Scott Stroud.

"Claire is an exceptional journalist with an inquisitive mind, the drive to keep digging and the talent to capture why things matter and how they impact our everyday lives," Pane said. "We're looking forward to her telling the fascinating stories of the people and issues in this part of the country."

Galofaro, 32, most recently worked at The Courier-Journal, where she covered criminal justice and social services. She previously reported for The New Orleans Advocate, The Times-Picayune and the Bristol Herald-Courier in the Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia.

Her work has examined the fragile criminal justice safety net and its failures to protect the innocent. She has written about an anti-government militia's deadly encounters with law enforcement, the epidemic of pet euthanasia in the rural South and how a small town's tough-on-crime conservatism led to incarcerating more people, per capita, than any place on earth.

"Claire's respect for the people whose stories she tells is part of what drew us to her work," Stroud said. "She knows Kentuckians and the challenges they face, and is also familiar with their triumphs. We think she'll continue to capture the texture and character of our region in surprising and original ways."

Before receiving her master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University, Galofaro worked as a costume designer and crafts artisan in New York and Italy. She made monkey wings for the musical Wicked, Scar's suits in the Lion King and a Halloween costume for Bette Midler.

Galofaro has a bachelor's degree in theater design from The University of Cincinnati.