Archive for December, 2013

Goodbye to Monica Orosz and Cheryl Caswell. We’re gonna miss you

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We’ve had quite  a few comings and goings this year at the Charleston Daily Mail.

This week we’re saying goodbye to two more longtime employees (and friends), Monica Orosz and Cheryl Caswell.

Monica Orosz

Monica Orosz

Monica, our Life editor, played a role in hiring me here and was one of my first direct supervisors. She was also my buddy in my first middle manager role here, when I became city editor, which is a newsroom job like dispatcher and traffic cop.

She’s been a source of humor, blunt criticism (but usually only when warranted), great ideas and stories anybody would want to read.

Monica started working for the Daily Mail in 1984 and has worked on a variety of positions, including as a reporter covering business, city and county government and county courts, as business editor, assistant city editor and life editor. She will be dividing her time between West Virginia and South Carolina and working part time.

The Life editor’s position is being taken over by Zack Harold, who will keep those stories strong and interesting.

“I look forward to my next adventure and am confident Zack will bring a fresh and creative perspective to the Daily Mail’s lifestyle and entertainment coverage.

If you have a feature or WV entertainment idea for Zack in the weeks ahead, call him at at  304-348-4830 , or zack.harold@dailymail.com. On Twitter, he is @ZackHarold. He also is debuting a new blog, “The Pop Machine,” at popmachine.dailymailwv.com.

Cheryl Caswell

Cheryl Caswell

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail staff is also losing someone else — Cheryl Caswell, a stalwart and a Jill-of-all trades. Cheryl is leaving for three reasons — Ada, Bradley and Corbin. They’re her triplet grandsons, born just last month. Cheryl’s help is needed to take care of those little guys.

Alas, the Daily Mail will be missing someone who can do it all.

Cheryl has worked at the paper for 37 years. She was hired Christmas week in 1976 to cover the police beat. About a year later, she moved to the Lifestyles department under Julie Kemp, who was editor of that section at the time. Cheryl left in 1979 for about a year when her first child was born.

“When I came back, I believe I was Lifestyles and general news,” Cheryl said. “For several years, I did all the editing, reporting, photography and layout for Metro West, and then Metro North, which at the time were produced here in the newsroom and were much larger.

“When they were moved out of the newsroom, I was general assignment news and did a lot of legislative and state issues. I wrote probably hundreds of “My Turns” when that was a 3-times-a-week feature, mostly about my family and four kids.”

Her job description did not stop there.

“I have been the health reporter, consumer reporter, movie reviewer for many years, restaurant reviewer for 3 years, and reviewed local theater and music events for a long time. I have reported on all beats, including education, crime, state, city and county government.

“At some point some editor had me report in the mornings, work city desk afternoons and then copy desk doing layout afternoons.”

I was the one who asked Cheryl to be the courts reporter a few years ago, when we desperately needed one. That wasn’t exactly in  her comfort zone. But she learned to love it.

Andrea Lannom will be covering legal issues for the Daily Mail from now on. If you have story ideas about the courts or the law, call Andrea at 304-348-5148 or email her at andrea.lannom@dailymailwv.com.

Follow Andrea on Twitter @AndreaLannom.

We’ll miss Monica and Cheryl here, and I’m sure dedicated readers will too. But we wish them all the best in their new adventures.

 

Quick update: Set your favorites for www.charlestondailymail.com

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A couple of days ago, I blogged that dailymail.com will soon become www.dailymailwv.com

Well, there’s been a bit of a change — and I apologize for whatever confusion we might be causing.

The latest plan is to go with www.charlestondailymail.com.

One reason is, that’s the name of our print product so it’s consistent. Another reason is, the words “Charleston Daily Mail” represent the top phrase used to find our website through Google.

We had thought we’d go with www.dailymailwv.com because, frankly, charlestondailymail.com is pretty honkin’ long.

http://www.dailymailwv.com is still ours and will serve as a vanity URL that will redirect to the charlestondailymail one.

Emails for staff will have the dailymailwv designation.

We’ll be transitioning over the course of this month, so that’s why matters have been in flux.

Please come find us! Wherever we are!

We’re moving to www.dailymailwv.com, so join us there!

Monday, December 2, 2013

If you have visited the Charleston Daily Mail’s website recently, you might have noticed a shift.

Those who visit www.dailymail.com, which has been established as the newspaper’s domain name since 1996, are quickly and automatically shifted to www.dailymailwv.com.

dailymail-logoThat’s going to be our domain name from here on out, and we want to do our best to reduce confusion.

If you use your bookmarks or favorites to visit the Daily Mail site on a regular basis, you’ll want to make a change to reflect ours.

And if you have members of our staff in your email contacts, take note that those will be changing to reflect the new dailymailwv designation. Mine, for example, will switch from bradmc@dailymailwv.com to bradmc@dailymailwv.com.

We picked the new address for a couple of reasons.

One is, it’s just a couple of keystrokes difference from the original — so it’s a relatively minor change for readers, although it is certainly a new habit to get used to, probably not unlike remembering to write the new year on your checks after each Jan. 1. We hope you adjust quickly.

Another is we want to emphasize our commitment to West Virginia coverage. Coverage of WV government news, West Virginia University and Marshall sports and Kanawha Valley news and local sports is our bread and butter. Might as well make that clear in our product’s name.

There’s another factor at work here too, and some people on social media were already guessing about it.

So, yeah, at some point I’d expect that visitors to www.charlestondailymail.com will receive news from the British tabloid. If that’s not your interest, better get in the habit of adding that extra WV.

The sale of the domain name is allowing us to reinvest in what we do here and prepare for the future.

Some of the money from the sale went to buy state-of-the-art cameras for our photographers. They’re allowing our photojournalists to shoot with faster shutter speeds, under more challenging lighting conditions and with greater image quality. The real trick to great photos is the eye of the professional photographer, but the great equipment sure does help them produce iconic images for West Virginia readers to enjoy.

More of the money has gone to purchase a new computer system that will help us modernize what we’re doing both in the newspaper and on our website. You aren’t seeing the results yet, but you will this coming spring. The system, produced by a company called NewsCycle Solutions,will enhance what we’re doing in print and online.

Much of our content will be the same — still with an emphasis on West Virginia news and sports — our hope is to make it look better.

Online the goals include: be easier to navigate, smarter suggestions about related stories, more photo galleries and greater flexibility for mobile.

Other newspaper companies are making more dramatic moves to shore up their future. Some, like The Washington Post, are selling their actual buildings. The Star Tribune in Minnesota is selling its printing plant.

These moves are what John Paton, CEO of Digital First Media, would call buying “gas in the tank” to get down the road.

We’ll miss charlestondailymail.com, but comparatively this is not that big a change. And it will be worth it when  our products improve.

So please join us at dailymailwv and let the adventure there begin.