Archive for August, 2014

Stress, McClure and the milk-only diet

Saturday, August 16, 2014

I’ve been slogging my way through the 700-some page book “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism.

It’s really interesting but it’s also slow going for me.

There’s a lot of great stuff about the muckrakers, the journalists exemplified by S.S. McClure and the magazine bearing his name.

sam1I just read through a section where McClure hits some turmoil with his business and has a nervous breakdown. I’m not sharing to make light of him, or of workplace stress. Just that it’s an interesting way to deal with the situation — and to compare to the disruption that media companies are facing now.

The failed deal crushed McClure, precipitating a nervous breakdown in April 1900 that propelled him to Europe to undergo the celebrated “rest-cure” devised by an American physician, S. Weir Mitchell. Prescribed for a range of nervous disorders, the rest cure required that patients remain isolated for weeks or even months at  a time, forbidden to read or write, rigidly adhering to a milk-only diet. Underlying this regimen was the assumption that “raw milk is a food the body easily turns into good blood,” which would restore positive energy when pumped through the body.

This extreme treatment was among the proliferating regimens developed in response to the stunning increase in nervous disorders diagnosed around the turn of the century. Commentators and clinicians cited a number of factors related to the stresses of modern civilization: the increased speed of communication facilitated by the telegraph and railroad; the “unmelodious clamor” of city life replacing the “rhythmical” sounds of nature; and the rise of the tabloid press that exploded “local horrors” into national news. These nervous diseases became an epidemic among “the ultracompetitive businessman and the socially active woman.”

The stressed out citizens of 1900 have my sympathy, but I wonder how they would have reacted to a rapidly-changing digital age, where information is available at your fingertips at all times, where some startup might be rising to gobble your business model away, where breaking news is measured in minutes rather than days and where push notifications are being lobbed like cannonballs.

Suddenly, I’m thirsty for milk.

Great shot by Tom Hindman, great honors for Charley West

Monday, August 11, 2014

Great shooting by Charleston Daily Mail photographer Tom Hindman, who was honored with the West Virginia Press Association’s Photo of the Year award.

scoutsThe photo was one Tom shot during last summer’s Boy Scout Jamboree in Fayette County, WV. It showed a sea of scouts standing at attention. It was a grabber for us at the time — we played it big on the front page. And the West Virginia Better Newspaper Contest judges (who are journalists from another state) liked it too.

The thing is, this isn’t Tom’s first time being honored for great shots.


Yep, it was Tom’s third straight year to win the Photo of the Year award.

Brilliance, plus consistency.

That photo also placed first in the news feature photo category. Hindman also won best sports photo and placed third for best news photo.

Other Daily Mail staffers did well too. The Charleston Daily Mail was awarded with “General Excellence” for racking up the most points among West Virginia newspapers its size for stories, photos, headlines and designs.

The Daily Mail’s edition marking the state’s 150th birthday was recognized for best single issue.

Daily Mail Editor and Publisher Brad McElhinny won best columnist. Neediest Cases, the newspaper’s annual effort to help those in need during the Christmas season, placed first for service to the community.

In all, the newspaper won 26 awards. The other awards were:

• For Best Lifestyle Columnist, “Chickens in the Road” writer Suzanne McMinn placed first and “Ask the Vet” Allison Dascoli placed second.

• Former Life Editor Monica Orosz placed third for Best Lifestyle Page.

• Former staff writer Candace Nelson placed third for best written news story.

• The staff received second place for best headline, third place for best special sports section, second place for best sports page, and first and second place for best front page.

• Graphic artist Kevin Cade received second and third place for best cartoon or drawing.

• Orosz won second place for best lifestyle feature writing.

• Writers Matt Murphy and Dave Boucher placed third for governmental reporting.

• Business Editor Jared Hunt won third place for coverage of business and labor.

• Photographer Craig Cunningham won second place for feature photography.

• Opinion Editor Kelly Merritt won third place for best editorial page.

• Former editor and publisher Nanya Friend won second place for best columnist.

• Managing Editor Philip Maramba won second place for best newspaper design.

Congrats to everyone for another year of great work.

(Oh, and want to have access to these great pictures and vigorous WV journalism on a regular basis? Subscribe by going here: http://www.charlestondailymail.com/dm/Subscribe or call customer service at 304-348-4800.)

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