Posts Tagged ‘Dave Boucher’

Looking for a WV Statehouse reporter

Thursday, September 25, 2014

WVdomeNews from under the West Virginia Capitol’s gold dome has long been the bread and butter of what we do at the Charleston Daily Mail.

The newspaper has a tradition of aggressive state government coverage. And with the growth of digital/mobile audiences, more West Virginians than ever can read our coverage.

So we’re looking to fill a vital news beat.

Dave Boucher

Dave Boucher

Dave Boucher, our capitol bureau chief, is moving on to take a job with the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville, where he’ll be covering an education beat. It’s a good move for Dave to a bigger market.

Over the past couple of years on the West Virginia government and politics beat, Dave has made us look good. He’s smart and has brought boundless energy to his work. We’ll miss him a lot.

Now we’re looking for someone who will be a good match for this job

This reporter covers the governor, the Legislature, state agencies and state politics as well as stories involving West Virginia’s congressional delegation. Resulting stories often lead our local news coverage in print and online. The stories from this beat should be consequential and influential. We want to lead the agenda.

We take pride in our daily newspaper and also enthusiastically break news online. Reporters on this beat provide live coverage of daily events, often through Twitter, and are responsible for regularly updating a Capitol Notebook blog. Final versions of stories for print and online take a step back and provide context.

Interested? Please send your resume and clips to

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.

Were media ‘gullible’ during WVchemleak coverage?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

CNN’s ‘Reliable Sources’ used a segment to focus on coverage of the water contamination in West Virginia. One question that sparked controversy: Have the media been unreliable with their coverage?

Congratulations to Dave Boucher

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Congratulations to reporter Dave Boucher, who has won a monthly award from Digital First Media for his coverage of the controversial film “Oxyana,” which focuses on prescription drug abuse in southern West Virginia.

Dave Boucher

Dave Boucher

Dave, who is a seemingly tireless reporter, invested his time and interest in the story, using the film as a launching point for a discussion of southern West Virginia, prescription drug abuse and ethics.

He started with three stories about public reaction to “Oxyana,” a look at what the actual numbers of prescription drug abuse reveal and a discussion of possible solutions — and continued to cover the film and public debate after that.

Here’s what one of the judges said:

Wow, this was an easy choice to make. I’m going with the terrific series by Dave Boucher of the Daily Mail. These stories were really well written, and each time the lede captured my attention right away. Combine that with resource after resource, and it was like a book I could not put down. Of course, the subject had a lot to do with why it was so good. But Mr. Boucher did the type of reporting that should make any of us proud. Really a fine, fine job.

This is Dave’s entry. It explains his reporting approach and the results:

The state of West Virginia and filmmakers have a sordid history, leaving residents a little hesitant to work with any film crews. Not surprisingly then, citizens of the small town of Oceana were up in arms over descriptions of their home in a documentary called “Oxyana.”
Although most of the roughly 1,400 residents of the Southern West Virginia town haven’t seen the film, the depictions in trailers and descriptions online infuriated many. They say the descriptions depicted a town with no hope, decimated and overwhelmed by drugs. They accused the filmmaker of skewing the facts in order to make a quick buck.
At the same time, they admit there is a drug problem in the county. Several residents called a community meeting to discuss the documentary and the area’s drug problem.
After learning about the community meeting, I decided I’d like to see the film and head to Oceana. The filmmaker declined to comment or send a copy, so I relied on the trailers, several online descriptions, a review from a West Virginia documentary filmmaker who had seen the film and a participant in the film who had also send the documentary. I also spent a day in the town, talking to law enforcement, business owners and a pastor.
It raised a larger question that lead to a three-part series: perception of Oxyana vs. reality of Oceana when it comes to prescription pill abuse in Southern West Virginia.
First, I wanted to look at the documentary itself and how the town felt about the documentary. Many residents thought statements made by people in the trailer were not true, and it was the filmmakers fault for putting them in the movie. At the same time, all of the participants are residents, which means some obviously feel there’s a problem.
In the second piece, I tried to find the facts and figures of prescription pill abuse in the area and Southern West Virginia as a whole. More than 65 people have died from drug-related incidents in the county since 2011. Babies are born addicted to drugs, typically Oxycodone, at a far higher rate in the local hospital than nationally. I also looked at the history of OxyContin usage in Appalachia, and how abuse of the addictive drug became so prevalent.
Finally, the third piece looks at possible solutions to the problems. Those include increased economic development efforts, which can help battle the rampant poverty of the area. It can also give people hope.
Since the series ran, there has been increased attention to the area and the problem. Sen. Joe Manchin, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall and other officials attended the community meeting in Oceana, which attracted more than 200 local people. Local and national media outlets, including The Denver Post, picked up the stories as well.
Dave’s award represented the DFMie for May in the Pennsylvania/New Jersey/West Virginia cluster of Digital First Media, which manages 70-plus daily newspapers across the country.
Other finalists in the cluster were Chris Dunn, Brandie Kessler and Samantha Dellinger of the York Daily Record for a map of local veterans memorials and L.A. Parker and Matthew Osborne of the Trentonian for live coverage of Operation Dreamlift, which took some local children with special needs to Disney World for a day.
Way to go Dave, and keep up the great work.