After more than a decade on local TV airwaves, WVUA 23's Chelsea Barton-Kelly has been hired to lead marketing efforts for the area's tourism bureau, Visit Tuscaloosa.

In a Friday press release, Visit Tuscaloosa President and CEO Kelsey Rush said Barton-Kelly will take over as their new marketing content manager on August 30.

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A Marion, Alabama native, Barton-Kelly spent 12 years as a reporter and anchor at WVUA, whhere she also mentored dozens of students who have gone on to careers of their own in media and communications.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chelsea to our Visit Tuscaloosa team,” said Kelsey Rush, Visit Tuscaloosa president and CEO. “The time and effort she invested in Tuscaloosa during her tenure at WVUA has her well positioned to promote our community and the unique stories of the people who make it special.”


Barton-Kelly also volunteers time with several area organizations and sits on the board at United Cerebral Palsy of West Alabama and the Tuscaloosa Police Athletic League. She is an active member of Junior League of Tuscaloosa and was named to the Tuscaloosa News’ 40 Under 40.

Barton-Kelly's decade of coverage included hard news reporting of major events including the 2011 tornado and the COVID-19 pandemic and response and as well as countless uplifting stories from the community.

“My favorite stories to tell involved people overcoming challenges and lifting each other up,” Barton-Kelly said. “This is a special place because of the people those stories featured. I’m really looking forward to sharing that warmth with a new audience in this role.”

Her role at Visit Tuscaloosa begins next week, where her responsibilities will include the organization’s advertising, media relations, content creation and digital presence. Rush said her efforts will focus on strengthening Tuscaloosa’s tourism brand to enhance quality of life, increase overnight visitation, tourism expenditures and tax revenue.

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