Benjamin Pierce has joined the Unified Newspaper Group staff as a sports and community reporter.

Pierce, a La Crosse native, comes to the area after working as an education reporter for the Janesville Gazette, covering two area school districts and a local college. He also spent time as a part-time sports reporter and covered area hockey, specifically the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League.

He will work side-by-side with sports editor Mark Nesbitt to cover sports for Verona Area High School, Oregon High School, Stoughton High School, Madison Edgewood and Madison West, as well as community teams.

Prior to moving to the Janesville area, Pierce worked as a sports reporter for weekly newspapers at Lee Enterprises in La Crosse while also working as a play-by-play broadcaster for junior hockey games.

Pierce graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a minor in athletic coaching. While at UW-Whitewater, Pierce worked as both assistant news editor and managing editor for the Royal Purple, the school newspaper.

In his free time, Pierce enjoys coaching youth hockey, playing golf and watching his favorite hockey team, the Edmonton Oilers.

Pierce will cover area sports and pivot to Fitchburg news coverage in the lulls of the high school sports seasons. As a community reporter, he will join the team of community and business editor Emilie Heidemann, reporter Neal Patten and Mackenzie Krumme.

He can be reached at ben.pierce@wcinet.com.