Sarah Kelley

Writer and Editor

Louisville, Kentucky

Sarah Kelley

I'm a veteran journalist whose résumé includes stints at a digital news startup, two alt-weeklies, a D.C. daily paper and the Legal Times. I recently left life in the newsroom to pursue freelance writing and editing full time.



R&B Group WOKE Sings Out Against Inequality

The members of the R&B group WOKE have been on the brink of commercial success time and again over the past two decades, only to see it slip through their fingers. “We’ve been at the door of some major-label situations, but for some reason or another it just didn’t happen,” group member Lamont Connor says.

StageOne Director Idris Goodwin on What Theatre Teaches Us

Idris Goodwin spent the first decade of childhood in a quiet, residential enclave of Detroit, where his father worked as an auto-industry executive. But by the late 1980s, a growing drug epidemic began infiltrating the neighborhood, prompting his family to flee to the suburbs. “Suburban living is one of those things that, when you’re in it, you’re not thrilled.

From Hoops to Horses with David Levitch

David Levitch is on the phone again, pacing back and forth. He walks fast, talks faster. The gist of the call, based on what I can parse, is that a notable horse owner just bought a promising two-year-old Thoroughbred. The horse is going to run on grass in an upcoming race, and Levitch thinks it’s a solid bet.

Kentucky Medicaid campaign picks up anti-Obamacare push

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin's Medicaid campaign picks up anti-Obamacare push where Congress left off.

A history of violence

It was still dark when Amanda Ross walked out the front door of her downtown Lexington townhouse on the morning of Sept. 11, 2009, embarking on her regular weekday commute to the state Capitol. Two days earlier, Ross left work at 1 p.m. following a terrifying encounter with ex-fiancé Steve Nunn. The pair’s volatile relationship had ended in early 2009, and a domestic violence order prohibited Nunn — a former state lawmaker and the son of a past governor — from coming near Ross.
Louisville Eccentric Observer Link to Story

To Have, But Not To Hold

How the grisly murder and dismemberment of a young man led a well-off pilot to wed a woman serving life for the crime. The two-hour drive along Interstate 40 ended as usual for Timothy McDonald—at the Tennessee Prison for Women. He strolled past rows of menacing razor-wire fences without a second glance, as he had countless times before.
Nashville Scene Link to Story

Cancer, Interrupted

I owe a debt of gratitude to Angelina Jolie, which is unexpected given my cynical self typically scoffs at rich Hollywood types with whom I can’t relate. But as it turns out, I do have one thing in common with arguably the world’s most attractive human — we both are genetically flawed. The average woman has a 7 percent chance of getting breast cancer.
Louisville Eccentric Observer Link to Story

Witness to an Execution

Evidence suggesting Philip Workman didn’t fire the shot that killed a cop was not enough to stop his lethal injection. It’s almost 1 a.m., the time Philip Workman is scheduled to die by lethal injection. Seven media witnesses wait inside a beige cinder-block room deep in the bowels of Riverbend Maximum Security Institution.
Nashville Scene Link to Story

Tabitha Tuders

Five years ago, 13-year-old Tabitha Tuders walked to the bus stop. Her family hasn’t heard from her since. The tiny clapboard house on Lillian Street is bustling with visitors on a balmy winter afternoon. Nearly a dozen rowdy children are playing tag in the backyard, their carefree laughter in stark contrast to the forlorn faces of older guests quietly conversing on the porch.
Nashville Scene Link to Story

Shot in the dark

The call jarred Mike DiGiuro awake, and he fumbled for the telephone in the dark. The man on the line identified himself as a police dispatcher, and groggy confusion turned to panic. Then came the matter-of-fact statement that changed life in an instant: “Mr. DiGiuro, I’ve got some bad news — your son Trent’s been killed.”.
Louisville Eccentric Observer Link to Story

A dying breed?

Just after Eight Belles crossed the finish line as runner-up in last year’s Kentucky Derby, the sleek, dark gray filly slowed to a strained gallop, and within seconds her front legs buckled, bringing her to the dirt. Track workers rushed to the field, erecting a curtain around the disabled horse. Meanwhile, spectators watched in horror as the most exciting two minutes in sports took a tragic turn.
Louisville Eccentric Observer Link to Story

‘We’re deeply disappointed’: Clifton Center to close

The Clifton Center will close at the end of the year after more than two decades in operation as a performance venue, community gathering space and cultural hub. Link to Story


Sarah Kelley

Sarah Kelley recently made the leap to full-time freelance after 17 years in the newsroom. She previously helmed the editorial operations at Insider Louisville, an online local news startup, and LEO Weekly, Louisville's alternative newsweekly.

As a reporter, Sarah has pursued a wide range of beats, though much of her long-form writing has focused on criminal justice — from covering federal courts in Washington, D.C., to investigating prosecutorial misconduct in capital cases.



  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Reporting
  • Long-form Journalism
  • Narrative storytelling