Posts Tagged ‘Thunderdome’

‘Hollow’ and Thunderdome

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Yesterday really was an emotional rollercoaster at the Charleston Daily Mail as our staff reacted to the fates of friends.

We were thrilled to see our former colleague and continuing collaborator Elaine McMillion (now Sheldon) among the winners of the 73rd annual Peabody Awards for her production of ‘Hollow,’ which focuses on life in southern West Virginia.

Elaine McMillion

Elaine McMillion

As we have often said, because we like to claim her, Elaine was twice an intern at the Charleston Daily Mail. She continues to sometimes collaborate with our staff, as she did for coverage of the contamination of the Elk River and the Kanawha Valley’s water supply.

The Peabody is big-time.

As Elaine told the Daily Mail’s Zack Harold, she submitted “Hollow” to the Peabody Awards in January, “thinking my chances were pretty low because most of the people that win are with networks or affiliated with some corporation.

“I never thought we’d be in the same list as ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘House of Cards.’”

Congratulations Elaine!

Meanwhile, we were sorry to get news the same day that some of our friends from Digital First Media are losing their jobs.

Steve Buttry visits the Charleston Daily Mail for a seminar with newsroom staff

Steve Buttry visits the Charleston Daily Mail for a seminar with newsroom staff

DFM, which manages (but does not own), the Charleston Daily Mail, shut down its New York-based centralized newsgathering hub with the audacious name “Thunderdome.”

The move meant that some of our friends, including DFM’s editor-in-chief Jim Brady, Thunderdome managing editor Mandy Jenkins and digital transformation editor Steve Buttry — all recent visitors to the Daily Mail newsroom — will be looking for other jobs.

Their visits and their outlook have influenced much of what we do at the Daily Mail, including an emphasis on community involvement and a belief in serving web and mobile readers as well as traditional newspaper readers.

Digital First CEO John Paton wrote in his blog that the Thunderdome shutdown means a turnabout to focus on local. Although the Daily Mail is affiliated with Digital First Media, I wouldn’t expect big changes here. The company manages our newsroom but all other functions — like advertising and circulation — are self-contained within Charleston Newspapers. And our focus is local anyway. Always has been.

Nevertheless, we’ll miss our Thunderdome friends, who are always welcome to come visit us anyway. Good luck in the future, guys.



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?