Farewell to Charley West

July 27, 2016 by Brad McElhinny

This blog hasn’t been updated for a long, long time because in July, 2015, the Charleston Daily Mail combined with the Charleston Gazette to form The Charleston Gazette-Mail.
This is one of the last photos taken of the final staff of the Daily Mail. Serving with these people was an honor and lots of fun.

Charleston Daily Mail, early 1990s version

July 13, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

On days when we’re feeling nostalgic around here, we take a look at this video, which was made as a promotion for the Charleston Daily Mail around 1993:

The music is very intense. The voiceover is by longtime Charleston broadcaster Jim Reader. And the photographer with hair to match the times is Tom Hindman, who is still going strong on our staff (but with shorter hair.) Other than the tube-looking computers, our newsroom looks very much the same — cubicles, carpet and chairs. Obituaries, mentioned here as a free service, became a paid service several years ago and now are compiled in a department outside the newsroom. The process that’s depicted to receive photographs from the Associated Press… uh, that’s no longer the process.

The editor’s office is the one I (mostly) sit in. In the video, the editor is Dave Greenfield. His version of the office is much neater, and his hair is a lot better than mine. And his mustache? It’s off the charts.

At this point, in addition to the other steps in newspaper production being portrayed, we’d add post to web, Facebook (as a verb), tweet and possibly fire off a push notification.

In addition to enjoying this walk down memory lane, we hope you’re still enjoying your Charleston Daily Mail in print and/or online.

Meet the education writer: Megan Kennedy

July 2, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Megan Kennedy takes over the Daily Mail’s education beat from Samuel Speciale, who moves on to Statehouse. Education includes local schools, state education policy and higher education, so it’s a pretty big beat here. We’re glad to have Megan, and she seems pretty glad to be here. Here’s a bit more about her.

Megan Kennedy, reporter at the Charleston Daily Mail.   Charleston Daily Mail/Craig Cunningham 06/30/15

Megan Kennedy, reporter at the Charleston Daily Mail. Charleston Daily Mail/Craig Cunningham 06/30/15

Name: Megan P. Kennedy

Lives in: Charleston

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Position at the Daily Mail:  Education reporter

Graduated from: University of Dayton

With a degree in: Communication with a concentration in Journalism. I also have a minor in Anthropology.

Twitter handle: @wvschools

1. What was your first job? I was a grocery bagger for a grocery store. It was a painfully awkward time in my life.

2. What made you want to become a journalist? I’m extremely inquisitive about everything. Journalism allows me to explore my interests while simultaneously informing the public.

3. What do you like most about your job? The least? I love the openness of the newsroom. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly that I never really felt like the new person. So far, my sources have also been fabulous. Is it cliche to say that I don’t have a dislike? Maybe ask me again in a few months…

4. What do you do in your spare time? I spend a lot of time with my dog, Carl. I thoroughly enjoy the outdoors, so my fiance and I spend as much time outside as we can!

5. What’s the most satisfying journalistic effort you’ve produced? About two weeks after I started my journalistic career as a general assignment reporter right after college, I went an execution of a man who had murdered a woman and her unborn child. Since I was still so new to the job, the article itself wasn’t my best, but the experience is one I’ll likely never experience again.

Megan Kennedy's rarely worn sunglasses

Megan Kennedy’s rarely worn sunglasses

6. Name a personal item that is or will be on your desk: A pair of sunglasses that I found in Put-In-Bay, Ohio. I’ve never actually worn them, but they remind me of vacation!

7. Your favorite blog you read or Twitter feed you follow: Overheard Newsroom (@OHnewsroom). Hands down one of the funniest Twitter feeds.

8. What’s your favorite TV show? Book? TV show: The Killing (it’s on Netflix) and book: The Life of Pi.

9. What’s your favorite place in West Virginia? I haven’t had the chance to venture out much, just yet, but Charleston is a fun and lively place!

10. What’s one newsroom quirk you were surprised about? How well-versed everyone is with the show “Arrested Development.” I was pleasantly surprised that I’m not the only one who can quote the show nearly in its entirety.

This is the Daily Mail

June 25, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

We had a discussion in our office this week with a retired editor, and she brought along a document I’d never seen. It was called, “This is the Daily Mail.”

dmAs a 20+ year employee (and now its editor), I’d like to think I know what the Charleston Daily Mail is, either because of experience or oral tradition. But it was great to see what amounted to a mission statement thoughtfully typed out.

These days, I would probably add some mumbo jumbo about platforms, including website, apps and social media.

But in terms of our role in the community and the goals we should strive to reach every day, this still stands. I hope we live up to it.

Since it was written on typewriter, what follows is my typing straight into WordPress:


1. The Daily Mail is, first of all, a newspaper. Its primary obligation is to the news. The news is its principal commodity. Its major efforts should be directed at gathering and processing the news. In this it is guided by several considerations.

a) The motto: Without, or with, offense to friends or foes, I sketch your world exactly as it goes. (This is the reason it calls suicide by the right name.)

b) The Daily Mail is a family newspaper whose circulation, in the main, is concentrated in the home. (This is the reason it does not dwell upon the lewd, obscene and bestial or pander to the taste for sensation and scandal.)

c) The Daily Mail is a Charleston newspaper. Its ambition is to be the newspaper without which the reader cannot get the picture or “feel” of this community.

2. The Daily Mail is a responsible newspaper.

a) It strives, first of all, to be right — factually, morally right.

b) Where it cannot be right, it must be fair.

c) Where it has not been fair, it is quick to make amends.

3. The Daily Mail is a force for leadership.

a) It initiates causes which in its judgement are beneficial to the community, opposes those which in its judgment are detrimental. Similarly it espouses and opposes causes which originate elsewhere.

b) It is an independent newspaper with partisan leanings, not a partisan newspaper with independent leanings, which is to say that it is an independent Republican paper because it is conservative, not the other way around.

c) On its editorial page and elsewhere in the selection of criticism and opinion, it seeks to keep open the market place in ideas. It has its own opinions and ideas, but it does not undertake to suppress the ideas and opinions of others.

d) In looking toward the future, the Daily Mail tries to keep just a little ahead of public opinion, its job being to shape it, not to reflect it, to prompt action, not to concur in it, to point toward, rather than to look back upon.

e) In this direction, the Daily Mail’s editorial weapons are, first of all, the facts, then good sense and logic, followed by conscience as a guide to what we think is best, plus the courage to say so. Note: A newspaper can embrace too many wrong causes for its survival — wrong in the sense that they are unpopular — but the Daily Mail does  not mind challenging the common wisdom when the need arises.

d) All these add up to something like a personality, which may be described in this way:

The Daily Mail is a Charleston newspaper. It is (or should be) a complete newspaper, the honest, independent, reliable newspaper whose stock in trade is the truth as we know and can determine it.

The Daily Mail is also the conscientious, concerned newspaper, as anxious to serve as it is eager to profit and ready to gamble that as it succeeds in the first it cannot fail to succeed in the second.



Farewell to JaredWV

June 4, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Daily Mail staffers mark the departure of a colleague with food and 401(k) advice

Find jobs, cars and houses with our new sites

June 1, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Good on the Charleston Newspapers advertising department for updating and modernizing our websites meant to help readers find jobs, cars and a place to live.

IMG_2844What could be more helpful than that? (Except maybe www.GirlScoutCookieFinder.com)

Within the past few months, the ad guys (also known as the guys who pay the bills) have rolled out www.wvjobfinder.com, www.wvcarfinder.com and www.wvrealestatefinder.com. Each now has scads of listings for jobs, vehicles and dwellings.

They’re practical sites that acknowledge people’s needs. And, even better, they’re all built for both desktop and smartphone. If you’re already out looking for a car or a house, the sites are there at your fingertips.

And do you need help with digital services for your own business? Charleston Newspapers has been working with Guarantee Digital to help provide those services for small- to medium-sized businesses in our community.

The advertising staff has been working hard to meet our audience’s digital needs. Good job, and let’s keep rolling.


Chris Stadelman and Jody Jividen return to the pages of the Daily Mail

May 29, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Back in the mid- to late-90s, there were a couple of guys in the Charleston Daily Mail newsroom who gave us great work, great personality and a great community reputation.

Actually, there was more than a couple. But the guys I’m thinking about in this case were Chris Stadelman and Jody Jividen.

This is a very young Chris Stadelman.

This is a very young Chris Stadelman.

Chris, who was business editor, then city editor, and then managing editor, was whipsmart — as his rapid ascension to the top might attest. He was confident. I don’t think “brash” is too strong a word. “Stubborn” was used this week, and no one seemed to disagree. But also personable — really widely liked.

His last name took on a one-word life of its own — like Prince, Cher or Sting: Stadelman.

Jody walked slow, and he talked slow. He was lanky. He’d lean over your desk and sigh. He’d cackle, not unlike a donkey’s bray, and then wipe his forehead at the absurdity of what had been said.

In print — and in person — he was a master storyteller.

He had a special name, too: Uncle Jody.

Both returned to newsprint this week thanks to a story by another special, veteran reporter, Charlotte Ferrell Smith.

Chris, who is battling cancer, is the honorary chairman of the annual Run for Your Life event to raise awareness of colorectal cancer as well as provide education and funding for screenings. The event is organized by the Charleston Area Medical Center Foundation.

Run for Your Life was established in honor of Jody, who died August 9, 2002, of complications of colorectal cancer.  Jody was 44.

I treasure my time working with Chris and Jody in a newsroom on a regular basis. If you have smart, fun people to work with every day that’s a true gift. These guys continue to be a presence in our newsroom through a fun atmosphere, a tradition of hard work and great journalistic products.

Plus, they actually still are a presence in our newsroom. There’s a black and white staff photo of Chris from when he was a very young reporter, just lying around on a desk. And Jody continues to have a place on our “unofficial business” bulletin board.

As Jody would say, “Peace unto ya.”

Jody Jividen was employee of the week.

Jody Jividen was employee of the week in October 1986.

Follow along: South Charleston mayoral candidates

May 27, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

The Charleston Daily Mail editorial board is meeting today with candidates for South Charleston mayor, the incumbent Frank Mullens and his challenger, Richie Robb, who was the city’s longtime mayor.

I’m the editor, Brad McElhinny, and I’m going to attempt to liveblog below:


Looking for a business writer/columnist

May 23, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

The Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia is seeking a business writer and columnist. Traditionally, this position has provided coverage of Charleston and West Virginia’s industrial, retail and economic landscape through news and feature stories, as well as a weekly column.

We're getting out of the office. It's pretty exciting.

Crash our  journalism party as the new business  writer.

Charleston is not only where West Virginia’s state government is centered, but is also at the heart of the state’s chemical industry as well as at the crossroads of the coalfields and the natural gas industry. There is no shortage of interesting material to cover.

We continue striving to put out an engaging, interesting newspaper but also aim for a growing digital audience through our website, blogs, apps and social media.

We are looking to fill this position because business editor Jared Hunt is taking a job as communications director with the West Virginia attorney general’s office.

Please email a cover letter, resume and clips to editor Brad McElhinny, bradmc@dailymailwv.com


How to put out a paper with no power

May 11, 2015 by Brad McElhinny