Posts Tagged ‘Whitney Burdette’

Whitney Burdette to opinions; Samuel Speciale to Statehouse

Monday, May 4, 2015

When the time comes, it’s nice to have smart, talented people who can step up to the next level.

We’re moving a couple of the Daily Mail’s staffers to new positions. We’re excited about what they’ll be doing, and they are too.

Whitney Burdette, political reporter, is shifting into the Opinions section. She’ll be an editorial writer and will contribute additional opinion content. She’ll also be a member of our editorial board.

Whitney Burdette

Whitney Burdette

Whitney has a nice background to observe the West Virginia political scene. She was a West Virginia Statehouse reporter both at the Daily Mail and, earlier, at the State Journal. She’s covered 4 regular legislative sessions, plus the special session on redistricting in 2011. She’s also covered seven or eight statewide elections (special primary and general elections following Manchin’s departure to Senate and special primary and general 2011 special gubernatorial election, plus primary and general 2012 and 2014 statewide elections).

That’s plenty of sessions to sit through. Now she gets to contribute opinions about the national, state and local scene.

“I really became interested in politics my senior year of high school, when I took AP government,” Whitney told me. “I had an awesome teacher, Mr. Moynahan, who really fostered my interest. He made learning about politics, which I previously thought was a boring topic, interesting and fun. When I got to Marshall and had to declare a minor, I chose political science. I had several more great teachers at Marshall who taught me a lot about political philosophy, political history and state and federal government process. I relied on that background heavily when covering statehouse for the State Journal and Daily Mail.”

Whitney, 26, is a Riverside High School and Marshall University graduate.

Samuel Speciale, who has been our education reporter, is moving to the Statehouse beat, where he’ll join Joel Ebert.

Samuel Speciale

Samuel Speciale

Sam got a taste of life at the Capitol this past winter when he invested lots of time covering hot issues like charter schools and Common Core legislation.

“I started paying attention to politics during my senior year of high school into my first year of college, which happened to be an election year,” Sam recalled. “While I’ve payed attention to major stories over the years, I didn’t actively follow politics until last year when I started covering local and state education departments for the Daily Mail. I became more interested — in that I wanted to pursue political reporting full time — after writing about several education bills during the past legislative session.”

Sam, 25, is a graduate of Elk Valley Christian School and Marshall University.

Good job and good luck to both.



Congratulations Whitney Burdette and the other excellent WV political writers

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Fix blog for The Washington Post has a fun tradition: an annual list of best political reporters.

Any such list is subjective, of course. And the list relies heavily on crowdsourcing (because who can regularly read or listen to the political reporting from each and every state). Reporters were nominated through social media and then finalized by The Fix.

Whitney Humphrey

Whitney Burdette

We’re proud to have one of West Virginia’s names on the list, Whitney Burdette. This is actually Whitney’s second year in a row to make the list. In between, she had a baby, which is no small feat in itself.

West Virginians apparently came out in droves for Hoppy Kercheval of MetroNews because he’s singled out by The Fix for his large number of mentions. We’re pleased to note that we often run Hoppy’s insightful commentary on our editorial page.

The other reporters representing West Virginia were Phil Kabler and Eric Eyre of The Charleston Gazette. West Virginia is fortunate to have a vigorous and lively press pool covering what goes on under the dome.

Well done everyone. Now, the Legislature’s in session so get back to work.

UPDATE: Public broadcasting’s Ashton Marra and Jonathan Mattise pf The Associated Press have been added to the list. Congrats!

The list, now somewhat lengthy, has a distinctly Charleston feel to it. That’s natural since it’s capital reporters covering the Capitol. But if you’re looking for an out-of-Charleston viewpoint, check out the work of Beckley’s Pam Pritt or Parkersburg’s Michael Erb, who covers state issues for the Ogden Newspapers in West Virginia.

And for a new-to-Charleston viewpoint, I’d recommend Joel Ebert, who just got to town but who is doing a bang-up job for the Daily Mail.




Straight outta Kanawha

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Not only do we cover your community — a lot of times we hire our newsroom employees from your community.

That’s certainly the case with our three newest newsroom contributors — all proud products of the Kanawha County school system.

Whitney Humphrey

Whitney Humphrey

Whitney Humphrey is a 2007 Riverside High School graduate. She has joined our copy desk, where she’ll be editing stories, writing headlines, laying out pages and helping with our online offerings at Daily and on social media. Follow her on Twitter: @W_HumphreyWV

Whitney is a Marshall University graduate and a former employee of the State Journal, where she was a state government reporter.

But her interest in journalism began long before that.

My journalism ‘career’ began when I was editor-in-chief of The Sixth Grade Scoop in middle school. Our little newspaper lasted one edition.

Whitney is a veteran of Charleston Newspapers’ FlipSide program, which is written for and by area teens. It’s managed by the Charleston Gazette’s Amy Robinson and, before her, Marina Hendricks.

I loved FlipSide and got to do some really cool things, including attending the Youth Editorial Alliance conference in Nashville as a teen fellow. That was in 2005, I think. FlipSide gave me more freedom to explore my creative side. I always knew I wanted to write, I just didn’t know how to go about accomplishing that. FlipSide, and Marina and Amy, really opened my eyes to the things I could do through journalism. So here I am. I’ll always be proud of my alma mater, and I’m thankful for the teachers who would read my FlipSide articles and tell me what a bright future I had.

Tom Bragg

Tom Bragg

Tom Bragg graduated from Nitro High in 2002. He’s in the sports department, where he’ll be writing and editing. We’ve given Tom the reins of Charleston Newspapers’ High School Huddle website that focuses on prep football. He’ll be managing content, including stories, photo galleries and video.

Tom is a Marshall University graduate. He previously worked on the Daily Mail’s news copy desk and was sports editor at the Times-West Virginian in Fairmont. He has been a minor league baseball correspondent for Follow him on Twitter: @TomBraggSports.

Tom also is a veteran of the FlipSide program. So this entire exercise of talking to new employees about their early journalism education has underscored to me just how important that program is.

I was a Flipsider during my junior and senior years. I also attended Capital for 10th grade during the 1999/2000 school year and wrote for the school newspaper (I think it was called The Prowler).

I was also on the news crew in the 8th grade at Andrew Jackson Middle School. We did a daily broadcast with announcements and sports updates. The whole thing was done by students and it was super fun.

Kelly Merritt.    Charleston Daily Mail/Craig Cunningham 6/25/13

Kelly Merritt

Kelly Merritt is, how should we say this … the most experienced of the new hires.

He’s a 1979 graduate of South Charleston High School.

Kelly is our editorial page editor, where he’s responsible for all the opinion content, including staff editorials, columns and letters to the editor. Follow him on Twitter: @EKMerritt

I’m not sure there was any FlipSide back when Kelly was in high school. But he seemed to have early — although nearly thwarted — journalistic aspirations.

I didn’t know what career track I wanted to do in high school, but I did write at least one article for the student newsletter about student involvement and interest in politics. The editor – last names Parsons – first name I don’t recall – completely re-wrote my article — and he added a line about where students ranked on the “totem pole of political efficacy.”

Mr. Kimble, the teacher for the American Government class that Parsons was in with me (along with Yeager Airport’s Rick Atkinson) gave Parsons absolute hell for taking the easy to understand piece I wrote and making it sound like a political science Ph.D. dissertation.

Kelly comes to the Daily Mail after a 30-year career as a professional communicator.

A 1984 Marshall University graduate, he has held communications jobs at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Gulf States Utilities in Beaumont, Texas, and spent most of his career at Columbia Gas Transmission in Charleston.

At Columbia, he interacted regularly over the years with Charleston Daily Mail business reporters Phil Nussel, Chris Stadelman and George Hohmann.

He most recently served as communications manager for the Division of Science and Research of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

And, yes, he stays in touch with South Charleston High.

As for high school, I have been involved with my alma mater as football PA announcer, Grand Reunion Planning Committee and athletic boosters president (ugh).

I stay in touch with my college professors George Arnold and Ralph Turner and am a 20 year MU football season ticket holder. Go Herd!

From one end of the Kanawha Valley to the other, I’m glad to have all these hometown contributors on our staff.