Archive for October, 2013

Reader reaction to dropping Doonesbury

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We announced over the weekend that we’ll be discontinuing Doonesbury in the Charleston Daily Mail starting Nov. 4.

dbTo recap the main points: We try to keep costs low for readers, Doonesbury is one of our more expensive comics, and creator Gary Trudeau has been on hiatus since early summer, trying to wrap up a live action comedy project for Amazon. The product just didn’t seem worth the price any more.

On my end: Deliver message and brace for reaction.

To my relief, there were some questions and a little criticism but mostly acceptance of the decision.

There were a couple of congratulatory emails:

  1. Thank you if Doonesbury is truly leaving the Dailymail. For years this strip has been dedicated to serve a political agenda.  The humor left years ago.
  2. Count me among those calling (emailing) to congratulate you for dropping Doonesbury.  That strip never belonged on the comic page in the first place.

There was a reflective email, mourning the loss of the long-loved comic:

I expect dear sir that you will hear from others of those who have enjoyed Doonesbury over the years.

Trudeau may have slackened off in recent years, and I do not blame him. Just keeping up with the lives of his many characters in the strip might be exhausting. In fact I, who read the strip as one of the reasons I take the Mail can be confused as to what time period he is writing of. And to keep up with the characters is tough.

The current strip with reference to the terror of war  has real relevance.  Leo, with the traumatic head injury and his life with his PhD wife touches me.  Ray’s injury and his desire to return to battle after 17 esplosions now and then opens the gates of rage.  People gain jobs, age, and are demoted to blog for no money.  Everything about the strip moves me in some way.  Just one strip on one day can affect my thinking for hours.

I am so sorry that the expense of running the strip is too high.  I have seen fond memories of long ago strips that have been forgotten. My dad would read me Joe Palooka  (Wham, bang!!) and Dick Tracy.  L’il Abner always charmed.  Early on I knew that “Annie” was part of the editorial output of the Tribune in Chi town.  Oh, the glory.  I never miss a day reading the funnies, and I am 78 years old.  In fact, once or twice I used strips to illustrate lectures I gave to graduate students.  Remember when Rex Morgan had a woman Doc working in the ER who had AIDS?

You are so young.  You have no memory of Casper Milquetoast by Clair Briggs.  Maggie and Jiggs.  The Katzenjammer Kids and many more.

Now it is Doonesbury and companions.  Biting the dust.  Smothered by today’s harsh economy.  I should declare DOONESBURY WEEK sometime in the future.

Think!  Zonker will never gain the fruits of his royalty wig.

And an email upset with me:

Please cancel my 30+ year subscription to the Charleston Daily Mail effective after Nov. 1.  Any unused prepayment should be applied to my continuing subscription to The Charleston Gazette. The reason for the cancellation is your politically-motivated decision to cancel Doonesbury.  Hopefully, the Gazette will see fit to fill the void created by your decision.


And a bunch of tweets of reaction:








More thoughts? Share below!

Meet the reporter: Andrea Lannom

Monday, October 21, 2013

If you’re a regular reader of the Charleston Daily Mail, you probably notice new names from time to time. You see the work and the name, but we don’t always tell you much more.

I’d like to start letting you know more often about the people who give the paper its personality.

The most recent new name you probably see is Andrea Lannom. Wanna know more? Read on:

AndreaLannom131010Name: Andrea Lannom
Lives in: Charleston
Hometown: Ghent
Position at the Daily Mail: general assignment reporter
Graduated from: Concord University
With a degree in: Communications with an emphasis in public relations
Twitter handle: @AndreaLannom
1. What was your first job? Cashier at Winterplace Ski Resort
2. What made you want to become a journalist? I fell in love with the profession in high school when I had to do my senior project. As part of my project, I wrote feature stories at my hometown newspaper, The Register-Herald. I always enjoyed writing; so, it just fit. From there, the rest is history. I’ve been a journalist ever since.
3. What do you like most about your job? The least? It’s so hard to pick one thing I like the best about my job because I love absolutely everything about being a journalist. I love talking to people, researching, and digging deep to get the real story. Honestly, I can’t think of much I don’t like.
4. What do you do in your spare time? A bit of everything — ice skating, painting, reading, archery, zumba and yoga, to name a few. I like to be active and keep my mind engaged.
5. What’s your favorite journalistic effort you’ve produced? My favorite pieces have been those where I’ve had to work past the normal workday, travel and meet all sorts of interesting people. One of my favorites was a series I produced on the health of West Virginians, where I traveled to Mingo and McDowell counties to see why the counties were ranked so unhealthy and what the local communities were doing about it.
art6. Name a personal item that is or will be on your desk: I have a painting I did on West Virginia’s 150th celebration.  (See over there ——->)
7. Your favorite blog you read or Twitter feed you follow: Probably, my favorite Twitter feed deals with Karl Pilkington quotes.
8. What’s your TV show? Book? Doctor Who, for sure. For my favorite book– it would be between The Time Machine and Rebecca.
9. What’s your favorite place in West Virginia? Besides Charleston, I love the Franklin/Seneca Rocks area.

10. What’s one newsroom quirk you were surprised about? Here, I was surprised at the amount of fellow Doctor Who fans.


Our reporter, live from the Online News Association

Friday, October 18, 2013

Daily Mail writer Zack Harold has been at the Online News Association annual convention in Atlanta, where there’s a lot of interesting discussion about the changing nature of news.

A trip back to Charleston Beautiful, 1932

Monday, October 7, 2013

Now this was community engagement.

It’s billed as the first sound movie created in Charleston, WV. The film, “Charleston Beautiful,” was produced in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, and presented by the Kearse Theatre and The Charleston Daily Mail. For some reason the name of the newspaper appears in quotes.

The film was posted on YouTube by Jerry Waters and is getting new attention thanks to an appearance on the Revivalist blog.

It depicts Charleston as it was in August, 1932 — different in so many ways, yet also very much the same.


The film came to my recent attention thanks to Charleston lawyer and forward-thinker Bob Coffield. He had some ideas about how we might produce something similar as a snapshot of where Charleston is right now:

As I have thought about the 1932 film over the past week I have an idea for a project for FestivALL Charleston. I would like to bring together a team to re-film the 1932 film using the same shots, stories, and people (if we could find the babies). Would love to see a 2013 version of the Baby Walk. Maybe the Charleston Daily Mail would again be the “presented by . . .” The films could then be shown together at FestivALL.

Good idea?