Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

A talk about freedom of information

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Many thanks to West Virginia journalist Nerissa Young, who swung by the Charleston Daily Mail this week to lead a discussion on freedom of information.

mcclawwvNerissa is a former reporter at the Register-Herald in Beckley and has taught at Shepherd University, Marshall University and now at Ohio University. She’s also the author of “Mass Communications Law in West Virginia,” which was the hook for what she talked to the Daily Mail news reporters about.

Her discussion provided helpful advice but was equal parts pep talk, reminding reporters that they represent citizens with an interest and a stake in knowing what their government is doing.

It was a good talk, and if you have an interest in open government then be sure to check out Nerissa’s book.

Out of newspapers, but still making headlines

Monday, June 23, 2014
2014-06-22 15.08.23_nanyaheadlines

Former editor and publisher Nanya Friend leads a mini-seminar with Daily Mail copy editors on headline writing on Sunday.

This is Nanya Friend, former editor and publisher of the Daily Mail, who announced her retirement about this time last year.

Hers was one of a slew of retirements we experienced in 2013 — George Hohmann, business editor; Hanna Maurice, editorial page editor; Cheryl Caswell, court reporter; and Monica Orosz, features editor.

Their combined years of newsroom experience tallied well over a century and left those who remained to carry on wondering how we were going to make up for the loss of so much institutional and professional knowledge.

Luckily, none of them retired away from the area. And even more so, they’re still helping us.

From supplying emergency food supplies at the start of the winter water crisis to leaving stores of over-the-counter medications — antacids, pain relievers and such — they’ve continued to keep the newsroom fortified and fit. (George even continues to employ his ace reporting skills as a freelancer covering local city council meetings for us.)

Nanya was kind enough to share with our copy editors her time and wisdom in a headline writing seminar this Sunday. She passed along not only tips for writing good headlines, but her own opinions on what works and what doesn’t and why. (As I later told our copydesk staffers who hadn’t worked with her, “Now you know why we’re the way we are.”)

I told her afterward that she and our former managing editor, the late, great Bob Kelly, cast long shadows in our office and that we often wonder to ourselves what they would do in certain situations.

Truth be told, as the latest occupant of Bob’s office, I still talk to him, bemoaning the state of the world and the industry and asking for clues to life’s puzzles.

But I’m glad to know that the rest of our predecessors are still just a phone call, email or text message away for advice and, in the case of this weekend, real, practical lessons.

While it’s not in the direct, daily contact we enjoyed while they still worked with us, we continue to learn from them in the hopes of carrying on the legacy of excellence that they left us.

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 visit from the digital transformation editor

Monday, July 22, 2013

Steve Buttry, the digital transformation editor for Digital First Media, is coming for a visit to our newsroom.

As I take it, digital transformation means continuing to value your loyal readers in print — but also recognizing that many people are coming to the news in new ways, including their computers, their tablets and their smart phones. We want to welcome readers who come to us in those ways, serve them and encourage them to make our news and photos a habit.

Steve has made a habit recently of visiting newsrooms with new editors. That is us!

I’m glad Steve is coming, because he has a lot of great advice. So he will be arriving Tuesday and staying through Friday, conducting some workshops and having some individual conversations with people on our staff.

Steve Buttry is making a return visit to the Charleston Daily Mail

Steve Buttry is making a return visit to the Charleston Daily Mail

Here are some topics we’ll be talking about:

  • At noon Tuesday, Steve has to hop right onto an online discussion of liveblogging on ScribbleLive, which is an online live event site. He invites you to tune in!
  • Later, we’ll be discussing Thunderdome, the news dissemination arm of Digital First Media. If you want to learn more about Thunderdome, they have their own blog.
  • We’ll also be talking about beat blogging. The Daily Mail has several beat blogs, including ones for WVU sports, Marshall sports, West Virginia state government, local government in Kanawha County, and health. We want to have them to keep you up to speed on current events more regularly and delve more deeply into topics you are interested in.
  • We’ll have a discussion of “Tout,” the quickie video app. Digital First Media is a partner with this company. It’s one that other newsrooms are finding some success in using it for 15 to 45-second videos that flow directly onto widgets on their websites. You might be familiar with similar services such as Vine or Instagram video.
  • Search engine optimization. Basically, this is creating headlines that are highly Googleable.

Anything else you think we should discuss with the digital transformation editor?