This is the Daily Mail

June 25, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

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.



Farewell to JaredWV

June 4, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Daily Mail staffers mark the departure of a colleague with food and 401(k) advice

Find jobs, cars and houses with our new sites

June 1, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Good on the Charleston Newspapers advertising department for updating and modernizing our websites meant to help readers find jobs, cars and a place to live.

IMG_2844What could be more helpful than that? (Except maybe

Within the past few months, the ad guys (also known as the guys who pay the bills) have rolled out, and Each now has scads of listings for jobs, vehicles and dwellings.

They’re practical sites that acknowledge people’s needs. And, even better, they’re all built for both desktop and smartphone. If you’re already out looking for a car or a house, the sites are there at your fingertips.

And do you need help with digital services for your own business? Charleston Newspapers has been working with Guarantee Digital to help provide those services for small- to medium-sized businesses in our community.

The advertising staff has been working hard to meet our audience’s digital needs. Good job, and let’s keep rolling.


Chris Stadelman and Jody Jividen return to the pages of the Daily Mail

May 29, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Back in the mid- to late-90s, there were a couple of guys in the Charleston Daily Mail newsroom who gave us great work, great personality and a great community reputation.

Actually, there was more than a couple. But the guys I’m thinking about in this case were Chris Stadelman and Jody Jividen.

This is a very young Chris Stadelman.

This is a very young Chris Stadelman.

Chris, who was business editor, then city editor, and then managing editor, was whipsmart — as his rapid ascension to the top might attest. He was confident. I don’t think “brash” is too strong a word. “Stubborn” was used this week, and no one seemed to disagree. But also personable — really widely liked.

His last name took on a one-word life of its own — like Prince, Cher or Sting: Stadelman.

Jody walked slow, and he talked slow. He was lanky. He’d lean over your desk and sigh. He’d cackle, not unlike a donkey’s bray, and then wipe his forehead at the absurdity of what had been said.

In print — and in person — he was a master storyteller.

He had a special name, too: Uncle Jody.

Both returned to newsprint this week thanks to a story by another special, veteran reporter, Charlotte Ferrell Smith.

Chris, who is battling cancer, is the honorary chairman of the annual Run for Your Life event to raise awareness of colorectal cancer as well as provide education and funding for screenings. The event is organized by the Charleston Area Medical Center Foundation.

Run for Your Life was established in honor of Jody, who died August 9, 2002, of complications of colorectal cancer.  Jody was 44.

I treasure my time working with Chris and Jody in a newsroom on a regular basis. If you have smart, fun people to work with every day that’s a true gift. These guys continue to be a presence in our newsroom through a fun atmosphere, a tradition of hard work and great journalistic products.

Plus, they actually still are a presence in our newsroom. There’s a black and white staff photo of Chris from when he was a very young reporter, just lying around on a desk. And Jody continues to have a place on our “unofficial business” bulletin board.

As Jody would say, “Peace unto ya.”

Jody Jividen was employee of the week.

Jody Jividen was employee of the week in October 1986.

Follow along: South Charleston mayoral candidates

May 27, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

The Charleston Daily Mail editorial board is meeting today with candidates for South Charleston mayor, the incumbent Frank Mullens and his challenger, Richie Robb, who was the city’s longtime mayor.

I’m the editor, Brad McElhinny, and I’m going to attempt to liveblog below:


Looking for a business writer/columnist

May 23, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

The Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia is seeking a business writer and columnist. Traditionally, this position has provided coverage of Charleston and West Virginia’s industrial, retail and economic landscape through news and feature stories, as well as a weekly column.

We're getting out of the office. It's pretty exciting.

Crash our  journalism party as the new business  writer.

Charleston is not only where West Virginia’s state government is centered, but is also at the heart of the state’s chemical industry as well as at the crossroads of the coalfields and the natural gas industry. There is no shortage of interesting material to cover.

We continue striving to put out an engaging, interesting newspaper but also aim for a growing digital audience through our website, blogs, apps and social media.

We are looking to fill this position because business editor Jared Hunt is taking a job as communications director with the West Virginia attorney general’s office.

Please email a cover letter, resume and clips to editor Brad McElhinny,


How to put out a paper with no power

May 11, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Whitney Burdette to opinions; Samuel Speciale to Statehouse

May 4, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

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.



Umm, sorry about your porcelain bear

May 1, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Bear with us. This story has a happy ending.

It all started one fateful morning with this tweet from newspaper reader (bless him) Sam Scott. Oh noes!

City editor Lauren McGill, who is often at the helm of the Daily Mail’s Twitter account, responded with sympathy and an action plan.

Sam seemed pleased by the response but had come to terms with the loss of his porcelain bear.

Enter Kmart, with timely Twitter action of its own.

Well done Kmart. Let’s hope Sam gets a new bear AND keeps that newspaper coming to his front porch. Want to be a subscriber like Sam? Go online here or call 304-348-4800. We’ll try to keep our paws off your bear.

Live with the Daily Mail sports staff

May 1, 2015 by Brad McElhinny

Strong work from the Daily Mail sports staff, and it was live without a net.

In case you missed it — or, as they say, ICYMI — sports editor Chuck McGill, West Virginia University beat writer Mike Casazza and Marshall beat writer Derek Redd were live at Recovery Sports Grill on NFL Draft night, interviewing all-star guests.

Our can-do-it-all guy, Marcus Constantino, was there with a whole video setup. Some of the action he captured and sent flying through the Twitter-verse through the hot new app Periscope.

They had a great conversations — and a great time. If you’d like to see their work on a daily basis, be sure to make WVU Sports with Mike Casazza and Marshall Sports with Derek Redd your regular stops on the World Wide Web.

Missed the event but want to know what was said? Luckily, we’ve got video. Here are some of them: