About Virginia

Photo by Cindy Kunst

Virginia is on at least her third career, depending on how you count.

A native of Hendersonville, she became the managing editor of Mountain Xpress in August 2017. She had previously served as associate editor and city government reporter.

Working under Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Jeff Fobes, who founded Xpress 25 years ago, Virginia is responsible for guiding the paper’s editorial focus and overseeing editorial production. Virginia manages a team of 10 editorial staff members and an eclectic group of freelance writers, photographers and editors.

In the 2017 N.C. Press Association’s annual awards, Virginia received first place in the education reporting category for her story on the gap between the academic achievement of white and black students in the Asheville City Schools, and she shared a second-place award with staff writer Max Hunt for coverage of the French Broad River. She was recognized in 2016 with a second-place prize for her reporting on how House Bill 2 ironically has led to increased awareness — and in some cases, increased acceptance — of transgender issues.

Immediately prior to joining Mountain Xpress, Virginia worked as a freelance magazine journalist and as a marketing communications consultant.

Before returning to Western North Carolina in 2005, Virginia and her husband, Eric Daffron, lived and worked for 10 years in Boston. She was a director of marketing and sales for companies in the building design (Margulies Perruzzi Architects and Vanderweil Engineers) and government relations (O’Neill & Associates) industries. As a marketing professional, she won several national and local awards from the Society for Marketing Professional Services.

Virginia spent the summers of her college years guiding rafts down some of the Southeast’s best whitewater for the Nantahala Outdoor Center. She earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. She is a graduate of West Henderson High School.

For her senior year of high school, Virginia won a full scholarship from the United States Congress and the German Bundestag for a year-long exchange program. Living with a German family in a small city close to Germany’s border with Denmark, Virginia developed language skills that she strives to maintain through regular meetings with German-speaking friends in Asheville.

Virginia’s husband Eric is a residential and commercial architect with his own practice. They have one son, Finn, who is a recent graduate of the School of Inquiry and Life Sciences at Asheville High School, a martial artist and an aspiring tech professional.