Posts Tagged ‘Charleston Daily Mail’

Charleston Daily Mail, early 1990s version

Monday, July 13, 2015

On days when we’re feeling nostalgic around here, we take a look at this video, which was made as a promotion for the Charleston Daily Mail around 1993:

The music is very intense. The voiceover is by longtime Charleston broadcaster Jim Reader. And the photographer with hair to match the times is Tom Hindman, who is still going strong on our staff (but with shorter hair.) Other than the tube-looking computers, our newsroom looks very much the same — cubicles, carpet and chairs. Obituaries, mentioned here as a free service, became a paid service several years ago and now are compiled in a department outside the newsroom. The process that’s depicted to receive photographs from the Associated Press… uh, that’s no longer the process.

The editor’s office is the one I (mostly) sit in. In the video, the editor is Dave Greenfield. His version of the office is much neater, and his hair is a lot better than mine. And his mustache? It’s off the charts.

At this point, in addition to the other steps in newspaper production being portrayed, we’d add post to web, Facebook (as a verb), tweet and possibly fire off a push notification.

In addition to enjoying this walk down memory lane, we hope you’re still enjoying your Charleston Daily Mail in print and/or online.

This is the Daily Mail

Thursday, June 25, 2015

We had a discussion in our office this week with a retired editor, and she brought along a document I’d never seen. It was called, “This is the Daily Mail.”

dmAs a 20+ year employee (and now its editor), I’d like to think I know what the Charleston Daily Mail is, either because of experience or oral tradition. But it was great to see what amounted to a mission statement thoughtfully typed out.

These days, I would probably add some mumbo jumbo about platforms, including website, apps and social media.

But in terms of our role in the community and the goals we should strive to reach every day, this still stands. I hope we live up to it.

Since it was written on typewriter, what follows is my typing straight into WordPress:


1. The Daily Mail is, first of all, a newspaper. Its primary obligation is to the news. The news is its principal commodity. Its major efforts should be directed at gathering and processing the news. In this it is guided by several considerations.

a) The motto: Without, or with, offense to friends or foes, I sketch your world exactly as it goes. (This is the reason it calls suicide by the right name.)

b) The Daily Mail is a family newspaper whose circulation, in the main, is concentrated in the home. (This is the reason it does not dwell upon the lewd, obscene and bestial or pander to the taste for sensation and scandal.)

c) The Daily Mail is a Charleston newspaper. Its ambition is to be the newspaper without which the reader cannot get the picture or “feel” of this community.

2. The Daily Mail is a responsible newspaper.

a) It strives, first of all, to be right — factually, morally right.

b) Where it cannot be right, it must be fair.

c) Where it has not been fair, it is quick to make amends.

3. The Daily Mail is a force for leadership.

a) It initiates causes which in its judgement are beneficial to the community, opposes those which in its judgment are detrimental. Similarly it espouses and opposes causes which originate elsewhere.

b) It is an independent newspaper with partisan leanings, not a partisan newspaper with independent leanings, which is to say that it is an independent Republican paper because it is conservative, not the other way around.

c) On its editorial page and elsewhere in the selection of criticism and opinion, it seeks to keep open the market place in ideas. It has its own opinions and ideas, but it does not undertake to suppress the ideas and opinions of others.

d) In looking toward the future, the Daily Mail tries to keep just a little ahead of public opinion, its job being to shape it, not to reflect it, to prompt action, not to concur in it, to point toward, rather than to look back upon.

e) In this direction, the Daily Mail’s editorial weapons are, first of all, the facts, then good sense and logic, followed by conscience as a guide to what we think is best, plus the courage to say so. Note: A newspaper can embrace too many wrong causes for its survival — wrong in the sense that they are unpopular — but the Daily Mail does  not mind challenging the common wisdom when the need arises.

d) All these add up to something like a personality, which may be described in this way:

The Daily Mail is a Charleston newspaper. It is (or should be) a complete newspaper, the honest, independent, reliable newspaper whose stock in trade is the truth as we know and can determine it.

The Daily Mail is also the conscientious, concerned newspaper, as anxious to serve as it is eager to profit and ready to gamble that as it succeeds in the first it cannot fail to succeed in the second.



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.