Archive for the ‘Charleston’ Category

Follow along for Snowstorm 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Follow along for updates about the snowstorm

Live Blog Snowstorm 2015

From the WVPress legislative breakfast

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Journalists and lawmakers gathered for coffee, eggs and ideas in Charleston. West Virginia lawmakers — and some lobbyists — talked about the issues that are making headlines during this legislative session.

And there are lots of issues — prevailing wage, right to work, energy portfolio and on and on.

Here are some samples of what was said. (And forgive my pinhead video; I wasn’t quite as close up as would have been optimal.)

Watch while we talk with Charleston council candidates

Monday, January 26, 2015

For many years, Charleston Daily Mail editors have met with candidates for state and local offices to discuss issues and to consider political endorsements. This is not an uncommon practice for newspapers, of course. Most do this in some form or another.

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

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

A few years ago, we got the bright idea that we’d live blog our candidate meetings for citizens who wanted to follow along wherever they might be. Then we added a little Logitech camera for livestreaming. The image is so-so and the sound isn’t much better, but at least you can see what we’re doing and get some impression of the candidates.

Now, with Charleston municipal elections upon us, editorial page editor Kelly Merritt got another bright idea: to get out of the office and into the community.

So for some of our meetings, we’re heading over to DigiSo: “West Virginia’s first co-working initiative for digital entrepreneurs, start-ups, innovators and creative industry professionals.”

DigiSo’s location is on Charleston’s West Side, so that’s where we’re meeting Charleston City Council candidates who seek to represent West Side wards.

DigiSo is helping us stream those sessions, so expect the production quality to be better than what we’re used to providing.  (We’ll probably be back to our own office and back to the little Logitech camera and Snowball microphone for future meetings, so don’t get too accustomed to higher production values.)

If you’d like to follow along, head over to reporter Matt Murphy’s County Courthouse, City Hall blog. 

Our sessions will begin about noon, although we sometimes run slightly late if we’re making warmup conversation or waiting on someone to arrive.

Here’s the schedule and candidates who may attend:

Jan. 27 Wards 1, 2, 3 — Jones, Slater, Claar, Kirk, Deneault, Overstreet, Nguyen, Lee *

Jan. 28 Ward 5 — Nichols, Ashworth, Cooke Faegre, Bonar *

Feb. 2 Ward 6 — Marlowe, Seabolt, Talkington, Farrell *

Feb. 3 Ward 7 — Chestnut, Knauff, Hawk, Kerns, Williamson *

Feb. 10 Ward 10 — Hightower, Steele **

Feb. 12 Ward 12 — Salisbury, Jenkins **

Feb. 18 At large Republicans — Lane, Johnson, Hoblitzell **

Feb. 24 At large Democrats — Davis, Richardson, Ware, Ireland, Ceperley, Ballard, Henderson, Sheets **

Feb. 25 Mayor — Jones, Scott, Thompson, Monroe ***

* Location at DigiSo

** Location TBD, likely at Charleston Newspapers HQ

*** Location TBD, maybe back at DigiSo








At the Re-Fashion Show

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday was the Re-Fashion Show at the Charleston Town Center. It’s a unique event where participants have to make clothing from recycled or re-used materials. Refashion

I was one of the judges, representing The Charleston Daily Mail. I don’t know a lot about fashion, but thankfully I had some help.

Tooting our own horn

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Congratulations to my Charleston Daily Mail coworkers. Their reporting and communication on breaking news during the Sissonville pipeline explosion has won an award.

The Daily Mail has won a DFMie, named for Digital First Media, for the region that includes West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

One judge’s comments:

The Daily Mail hit several factors  on this story: great breaking news coverage; using multiple digital tools such as social media and video; and community engagement by integrating reader comments, photos and videos into their coverage.

 I was impressed by the way the staff scrambled to update the breaking story, to create a Storify to pull in reader comments and multimedia, to put updates on Twitter and their blog, and to really involve readers in telling the story. They have also continued to follow up on the story, covering the impact on the victims as well as the investigation into the explosion.


Another judge said:


Breaking news is always exciting for reporters and editors but the new digital tools available for doing compelling storytelling give us lots of great options to catch readers and the Daily Mail did this well. The stories were complete (and I notice they have done lots of good follow-up coverage) but the visuals – posted via Twitter, Facebook and Storify – really made me take notice.

The immediacy of the disaster was captured by the photo postings and this was a tremendous visual story with the monster fireball consuming the neighborhood. Creating a hashtag early was a great move so that readers could follow the news as it developed on the scene from multiple sources.

Getting so many hits on the Storify presentations must have been rewarding for the newsroom crew. The locator map and detour map were also useful additions for readers.

Experimenting with Facebook, Twitter and other social media is a learning experience for all newsrooms as we figure out how to expand our audience and how to crowd source on breaking stories; it sounds like these tools worked well for this story so kudos to the reporters, photographers and editors who pulled it all together.


Here are several of us discussing our work with Jim Brady of Digital First:

Editor Nanya Friend explained in her nomination how the Daily Mail staff covered the blast:

On Dec. 11, the Charleston Daily Mail staff learned that a gas pipeline had exploded in a residential area. Turned out it was a monster fireball that rumbled toward Interstate 77, scorching homes, burning trees, melting cars and making the highway asphalt crumble. We sent three reporters and a photographer to the scene, while three reporters stayed in the office, making calls and helping monitor social media posts.

We created the hashtag #KanCoBlast, and encouraged other news organizations to use it. Our live reporters used the hashtag in their tweets from the scene. We used the newspaper Twitter account to retweet the reporters and to share photos, video and graphics as they became available.

We created three different Storify streams during the first hours of coverage. As the news developed, we updated an initial Storify that served as a reservoir of breaking news and reaction. That Storify received more than 4,000 views. Later, we created a Storify of just photos, and then a Storify the next day detailing the overnight repaving efforts on the interstate. Those other stories received a combined 1,000+ views.

On Facebook, we created a photo gallery of submitted and staff photos, which we continued to update. The photo album itself was shared 200 times, and several of the individual photos received dozens of shares.   We also posted to Facebook and Twitter two graphics we created — a locator map showing where the blast occurred, and a detour map telling travelers the best route while the interstate was closed. These graphics received several shares and retweets on both social networks.

On our website, we posted an initial breaking news story, which received more than 600 Facebook recommendations. We kept this story updated with confirmed reports, photos, video, and a link to the Storify. We also shared this story on Facebook, where it received almost 50 shares, and Twitter, where it was retweeted dozens of times. We added a video to our story, and the video received more than 1,400 views.

The next day, coverage dominated the front page of our print edition. We posted the photo to Facebook, where it received more than 50 shares.