Archive for the ‘Honors’ Category

Congratulations to Chuck McGill, sportswriter of the year (again)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I’m a few days late on posting this congratulations, but hey it’s been busy…

Chuck McGill

Chuck McGill

So: Congratulations (again) to Charleston Daily Mail sports editor Chuck McGill, who has been selected as West Virginia’s sportswriter of the year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

McGill also won last year, plus in 2011.

His work is stellar, plus he’s a good guy to be around. Some of my favorite McGill pieces from the past year weren’t necessarily about Xs and Os but were more about life.

One was about  Brycen Miller, who was playing in his last Public Courts tennis tournament because he was going to go through a complete transplant of his stomach, large intestines and small intestines. This story was so amazing that any more summary by me won’t do it justice. Trust me: click the link.

Another was McGill writing about his own son. This is an annual column. If you’re not a regular visitor to the sports pages — or even if you are — read last year’s and this year’s.







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: or call customer service at 304-348-4800.)


Chuck McGill, good tennis player and great sportswriter

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Congratulations to Daily Mail sports editor Chuck McGill for a pair of honors.

Chuck already knew he’d been named the sportswriter of the year for West Virginia by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.

Chuck McGill

Chuck McGill

Now comes word that Chuck has won the related Tennis Media Award, the inaugural version of that honor.

This is a particularly fitting honor for Chuck, who was a high school tennis player at Dupont. He was himself the subject of tennis journalism in a 1998 story by the Daily Mail’s Mike Cherry. In the West Virginia State Tennis Tournament that year, the 17-year-old McGill won a first-round, three-set, No. 1 singles AAA match before his eventual elimination.

Chuck had been 7-5 during the regular season. He was a self-taught player who worked a summer at the Players Club to pay for some private lessons.

Chuck was also an emerging master of the quote. Asked by Cherry to describe his disadvantages on the court, McGill responded: “Experience and I’m short.”

Chuck has not let those factors get in the way of his sportswriting career.

He’ll be honored by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association this June in Salisbury, N.C., along with 104 other state sportscasters and sportswriters of the year, National Sportscaster of the Year Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick (NHL on NBC), National Sportswriter of the Year Peter King (Sports Illustrated), and Hall of Fame inductees Marv Albert (CBS, Turner Sports) and Rick Reilly (, Sports Illustrated, author).

While he’s there, Chuck will also pick up the tennis award hardware. The story he submitted was one from last summer about Tera Winfree, a Campbell’s Creek resident who underwent a 2009 double lung transplant but rallied to continue her competitive tennis interest. Winfree competed last summer in Charleston’s Public Courts tournament.

“Congratulations to Chuck McGill and all the winners for helping to spread the word about tennis and its benefits, for both adults and children,” said stated Jolyn de Boer, executive director of the Tennis Industry Association, which sponsors the award. “We’re very pleased to see these wonderful stories about how tennis touches and improves lives in all ways. The TIA is the main source for all types of tennis information and research, and we’re looking forward to continued collaboration with the NSSA and its members.”

Chuck has made the Daily Mail proud with his great work.

But if he gets the chance to make an acceptance speech, I hope he does better than his first quote in that 1998 Mike Cherry story.

As Chuck said back when he was 17 and on the other side of the notepad, “It’s really hard to put into words.”


A Top 10 front page focusing on tablets in the classroom

Monday, April 7, 2014

Congratulations to Charleston Daily Mail designers who came up with this Newseum Top 10 front page.

The Newseum often uses themes to determine its Top 10, and today’s had to do with wordplay:

The headlines in today’s Top Ten are more than a nice play on words. They made our list because they summed up the featured story in a few effective words; were clever without being too cute; and were simple without being overly simplistic.

The Daily Mail’s centerpiece focused on changing technology in classrooms. The design started with a concept by writer Samuel Speciale, who is a typography enthusiast. Graphics artist Kevin Cade got the image of the tablet ready to go. Managing editor Philip Maramba brought the centerpiece and headline together. And copy editor Samantha Ricketts brought it all home.



Charleston Daily Mail recognized for water crisis coverage

Friday, March 7, 2014

I’ve been proud of the Charleston Daily Mail”s coverage of the water contamination that hit our community Jan. 9.

Our main goal during the situation was to inform and help our community. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to see our staff be recognized for its work.

Digital First Media recognized the Daily Mail with a monthly “DFMie” for the region that includes its publications in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Here is our entry, followed by some very nice comments by judges:

1A Evening 01-10-2014.qxd (Page A1)On Jan. 9, residents of Charleston started reporting an unusual smell in the air. Some compared it to licorice, others to Robitussin. By that evening, it was clear the situation was much more serious. The chemical, which was being stored in tanks along the Elk River, had entered the intake valve at West Virginia American Water and contaminated the water supply for 300,000 people across nine counties.

The Daily Mail staff immediately started a live blog using CoverItLive to give residents immediate updates. The live blog ran for a week as residents were urged to not consume their water, not to bathe and not to use it for everyday activities such as washing dishes or laundry. The live blog got 44,831 views and 7,439 clicks.
One more important number wasn’t a web stat: The Daily Mail staff, along with the Charleston Newspapers circulation department and Trane Heating and Cooling, distributed 900 cases of water, a day after the crisis hit, to community members who had none.  We also used our blogs, our Twitter and our Facebook to let people know other places they could find bottled water being distributed.
Other highlights of our early coverage included two explanatory videos about how the crisis happened. The first, by Elaine McMillion and Dave Boucher, got 1,281 views in our NDN player and 4,208 on YouTube. A second by McMillion and Marcus Constantino got 582 views in NDN and 357 on YouTube.
Since that first day, in a water crisis that has lasted more than a month, the Daily Mail staff has written more than 100 accounts of the crisis — which has taken a few more turns, including a lack of knowledge about the effects of the chemical, several revisions about the amount of chemical that actually leaked, a late warning for pregnant women not to use the water even after the initial ban was lifted, the later revelation that yet another chemical leaked and the ongoing odor that remains in people’s water lines. Eventually the story became distrust.

1A Evening 01-15-2014.qxd (Page A1)By Jan. 15, the Daily Mail was asking residents how long it would be until they would willingly drink their tap water again — a question accompanied by an iconic front page and a story and video by Marcus Constantino.
On Jan. 22, when a little more time had passed, the Daily Mail staff sampled bottled water to pass recommendations with a lighter touch to a community that was now committed to the bottled version for the long haul. People seemed to appreciate the Life page levity.
The response to our coverage, in terms of readership and numbers, has been impressive. But what the stats really mean is we do and have done a good job of informing our community by whatever means we can. Residents seem to appreciate our effort and our commitment to this story.

The Digital First Media awards are judged by the staffs of other newsrooms. The judges had kind words about the Daily Mail’s coverage:

The Charleston Daily Mail deftly managed the Elk River contamination, providing all-angles coverage without diluting content. The show-stealer is the artistry of videographer Elaine McMillion in “West Virginia Water Woes, 36 Hour Recap,” which is also a testament to the explanatory reporting skills of David Boucher. This video is not just informative – it’s striking. I was further impressed by the work of reporters Marcus Constantino and Matt Murphy; a hot shower well-earned by all.

Another judge:

It excelled all judging criteria areas, especially the digital skills and community engagement.  The live blog was timely and provided an immediate forum for compelling and relevant information that the community needed to know and engaged in.  The explanatory videos were well made and good supplements to the written stories.  They took extra steps in community service with their bottled water distribution and their lighter bottled water review.  Overall,  it was a really nice package of stories using the online medium.

And another:

The Charleston Daily Mail staff put together a comprehensive and engaging coverage of the West Virginia water contamination crisis. This was journalism at its finest, getting in front of the story and keeping the public informed. Their use of social media was also a perfect example of today’s journalism without sacrificing the foundation and basis of newspaper reporting that people come to expect from us. Their use of social media put the story in a new light and helped reach as many people as possible in an evolving and vital story. It was simply not enough to run it in print. The live blog, the videos, the how-to videos all were exactly what the public needed from their local community newspaper organization. I personally liked the humanitarian element of passing out water bottles and assuaging community fears during a tumultuous time. I personally would have loved to been on the “bottle water tasting committee.” All in all, it all came together for this staff. The people certainly lost faith in the water company and their government, but they certainly gained trust in their local newspaper. Kudos.

Remembering Sept. 11, and the Newseum’s Top 10

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On Sept. 11, 2001, the Daily Mail was still an afternoon newspaper, so when the first plane hit the Twin Towers that morning, our staff jumped into action.

If you remember, no one knew what was happening at first — or how widespread the attacks were. The second plane hitting the Twin Towers and then the plane that hit the Pentagon only drove in the confusion and anxiety.

So when local reporters like me were dispatched to tall buildings, government offices, the airport, chemical plants or anywhere else we could imagine there might be an attack it was with a great deal of uncertainty, yet a sense of purpose.

The newspaper we put out that afternoon was one to be proud of.

And I’m pleased to say our tradition continues.

Today, on the anniversary of that horrible day, the Daily Mail was honored by the Newseum.

The Newseum often has themes for its Top 10 front pages feature. Today’s was for newspapers that successfully combined coverage of the 9-11 anniversary with President Obama’s national address about Syria.

Here’s what The Newseum said:

Today’s front pages offered a fascinating juxtaposition of two major news stories: President Barack Obama’s speech on the possibilities of diplomacy and force with Syria, and the anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The pairing of these stories offers quite a lot of food for thought on a day that encourages us to “never forget.”


Congratulations to Daily Mail news editor Ashlee Maddy, who designed the page, freelance photographer T.J. Lawhon, who took the photograph of the memorial in Barboursville, and graphic artist Kevin Cade, who designed the “Always Remember” package above the nameplate.

Here’s a Daily Mail editorial published today, “September 11 is a day for us never to forget.”