Most organizations and clubs want news of their activities published in the newspaper to make the community aware of worthwhile things they are doing. Many individuals also have story ideas or information they want printed in the Gazette-Mail. Not everyone, however, knows the best way to arrange for publication. We hope this page will help you.
It's the job of editors to decide whether a story should go in the newspaper. Newspapers have editors in charge of various departments such as news, sports, lifestyles, arts and entertainment and photography and graphics. It is useful to know the editors of the sections because they can give helpful advice. If you're unsure of which section you want to deal with, contact the city desk, which deals with the public the most.
Editors whom you may want to contact at the Gazette are:
- Co-Editor Robert J. Byers: 348-1236
- Co-Editor Brad McElhinny: 348-5124
- City Editor Greg Moore: 348-1211
- Gazette Editorial Page Editor Dawn Miller: 348-5117
- Daily Mail Editorial Page Editor Kelly Merritt: 348-4802
- Sports Editor Chuck McGill: 348-7949
- Living and Entertainment Editor Maria Young: 348-5115
Usually organizations are interested in two types of stories. The first is short announcements of meetings and events that appear in listings of community, church or entertainment events. These items are easy to get into print. Here's how to do it: Put it in writing. You can send it via e-mail, fax or U.S. Mail or drop it off at our offices. Give some indication - and leeway - of when you want the information published.
The Gazette-Mail 1001 Virginia St. E. Charleston, WV 25301
Fax information to (304) 348-1233
Send email to email@example.com
We will make every effort to get your information printed as soon as possible. List a name and phone number of someone who can be reached during working hours in case there are any questions. Remember that because of the number of organizations and space limitations, your announcement will be published free only one time.
The events you want publicized should be open to the public and not organizational matters, such as committee meetings and private parties.
Often groups have a special project or program that they believe merits a longer story. Perhaps a special speaker is coming to town or an organization is celebrating an anniversary. And individuals may know of people or events that they believe would make an interesting story. Here are some hints on how to get a feature story published. Call and check with an editor about your idea well in advance of the event. For news stories, call the city desk at 348-5100. It is better to call the newsroom in late morning or early afternoon when editors and writers are not on deadline. Write down the name of the editor or reporter to whom you are speaking. If you need to talk with an editor or reporter in person, it is best to set up an appointment. Newspaper people work irregular hours and are frequently out of the newsroom.
For club news, it is a good idea to follow up your phone conversation by sending a short note or news release to the person you spoke with. Your note may remind the editor of your feature idea and a reporter may be assigned to do a feature story. If not, at least the information in your release will probably be published.
News Release Guidelines
All news releases should have a name and telephone number of the person submitting the information. A release date -- when you would like the information to be published -- is also helpful. Many news releases simply say: For immediate release. News releases should answer "The Five W's:" Who? What? When? Where? and Why?
Who -- Who's sponsoring the program? Who will speak? Please use the full name of the organization. Not everyone knows what abbreviations or acronyms (such as DAR, NAACP, WV-COGS) stand for.
What -- What's the purpose of the news item? To publicize a project? To recruit members or volunteers? To announce a visiting speaker?
When -- Be exact. Not just Tuesday afternoon, but 2 p.m. Jan. 25. Always use dates.
Where -- Again, be exact. Include room and street numbers if applicable.
Why -- This generally isn't needed in routine club announcements.
However, if a special meeting is being called, then your release should say why it is being held.
Accuracy: When you submit an announcement or a news release, you are acting as a reporter. We assume you have provided accurate information. Please double check times, dates and phone numbers. Above all, make sure the names in your release are spelled correctly. If the name has an unusual spelling, use the symbol (OK) after the name so we know that the spelling is correct.
Also, please let us know if a meeting has been canceled or its location changed so we can make a correction before your news item appears in print. Please type or print your news releases. Illegible handwriting is a major cause of mistakes.
Deadlines: The newspaper business differs from many others in that it must meet specific deadlines. If you don't meet a deadline, your item may not be published. Deadlines vary for different departments. The Gazette-Mail frequently prints notices of deadlines for various columns, such as This Week and Church News. When in doubt, call the city desk at 348-5100.
The Gazette-Mail relies on its staff of photographers when possible to take photographs for news stories. However, submitted photos can sometimes be used. Photos promoting a coming event must be meaningful and visually attractive. Requests for staff photos should be made well in advance of the event. The Gazette-Mail does not assign photographers to cover presentations of checks or awards, groundbreakings, ribbon cuttings and grand openings unless there is something unusual about them. We will, however, photograph the end result of some of these events. Talk about which ones with Visuals Editor Kenny Kemp at 348-1218.
If you submit a photograph with your news release, please put the name and address of where it should be returned on the back of the photo. In the publishing process, the story and photograph are separated. Without a name on the back of the photograph we have no idea to whom it belongs. And please don't submit a photograph that has a lot of sentimental value to you. There's always a chance that the one photograph we lose will be the one that's irreplaceable to you.
Editorial cartoon -- An editorial cartoon expresses the opinion of the artist about political, social or economic issues
Editorials -- Editorials are written by employees of the newspaper and reflect an opinion on issues on behalf of the newspaper.
Credit lines -- A credit line gives the name of the photographer and whether he works for the newspaper, a news service or is a freelancer.
Bylines -- A byline tells the reader who wrote the article and whether he is on the newspaper staff, is employed by a news service or is a freelancer.
News stories or news articles -- News stories or news articles are a series of facts about an event, issue or individual.
Advertisements -- An advertisement is a block of newspaper space that people buy, usually to promote a business, product or service. Because people pay for the space, they can generally say what they want within that space.
Letters to editor -- Letters to the editor are written by individuals who aren't employed by the newspaper and reflect the opinion of the letter writer.
Columns -- Columns are opinion pieces. Sometimes they are written by employees of other newspapers and are syndicated, or sold, to newspapers throughout the country. Columns can also be written by newspaper employees and private citizens who are asked to write them.
AP -- AP stands for The Associated Press, a national news service that distributes stories throughout the state, country and world. There are other news services, such as New York Times News Service and Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service.
About The Charleston Gazette
Establishment of the weekly Kanawha Chronicle by Charles B. Webb in April of 1873 marked the beginning of The Charleston Gazette. Publication began at Kanawha and Summers streets.
In 1877, James B. Pemberton, later mayor of Charleston, and John W. Jarrett, bought the Chronicle and changed its name to The Kanawha Gazette. About 1884, Moses W. Donnally, an oil well producer, acquired an interest in the paper and later purchased it from Pemberton. Operations were moved to15 Summers St., and ultimately to 79 Capitol St. The name was changed to The Daily Gazette.
About 1902, the newspaper moved to a location on the Kanawha River bank. Frequent floods in the basement forced a return to Summers Street.
George Byrne became editor about 1901. In 1905, with Byrne as an incorporator, the Charleston Publishing Company was formed. The paper's name was officially changed to The Charleston Gazette on Jan. 29, 1907.
The Chilton family first acquired formal interest in the paper about 1912. Listed, as incorporators of the Daily Gazette Company that year were J.E. "Mayor Joe" Chilton; Charles A. Ashcraft, later editor and business manager of the paper; T.S. Clark; and former Gov. William A. MacCorkle. Not listed was W.E. Chilton, who began a six-year term as U.S. Senator in 1911, and later became publisher.
On or about Nov. 21, 1912, the newspaper moved to 909 Virginia St. E., a location near the South Side Bridge. On May 18, 1918, fire consumed The Gazette building and for about three months The Gazette took up residence at 227 Hale St., where it remained and grew in prestige for more than 42 years.
W.E. Chilton Jr., son of the senator, became president of The Daily Gazette Company in 1922 and managing editor in 1924. The older Chilton continued as vice president and frequently contributed editorials. He died Nov. 7, 1939.
After World War II, The Gazette's reputation grew as a crusading newspaper. Robert L. Smith, Sr., who joined The Gazette as a boy of 10, and became its business manager as a young man, was elevated to publisher after the death of W.E. Chilton Jr., on Sept. 21, 1950.
On Jan. 1, 1958, The Gazette entered into a consolidation agreement with the Charleston Daily Mail to form Newspaper Agency Corporation. The name was changed to Charleston Newspapers on July 1, 1973.
On Sept. 6, 1960, The Gazette left its home at 227 Hale St., and moved into an addition of the Daily Mail Building at 1001 Virginia St. E. The move brought this headline: "Hale Street - Hail and Farewell."
W.E. Chilton III the son and grandson of former Gazette publisher, who since 1958 had been assistant to the publisher and chairman of The Gazette editorial board, succeeded Smith, following the latter's death on Oct. 6, 1961, as publisher.
Shortly thereafter, Chilton appointed Robert L. Smith Jr., until then a general assignment reporter in The Gazette sports department, as business manager.
William E. "Ned" Chilton III, the man whose self-professed sense of "sustained outrage" at government's shortcomings shaped The Charleston Gazette into a crusading newspaper that was either feared, hated or loved by those it covered, died in 1987 at the age of 65 of a heart attack shortly after he collapsed following a squash tournament in Washington, D.C.
Robert L. Smith Jr. was named publisher and president of the Gazette in March of 1987. In 1992, illness forced him to retire early. Smith was succeeded by Charleston Newspapers general manager Craig Selby as publisher, and by Elizabeth E. Chilton as president. Smith died in June of 1994 at the age of 65
In May of 2004, the Daily Gazette Company purchased the economic interest in Charleston Newspapers from Media News, followed in September of 2004 with the announcement from The Daily Gazette Company that Elizabeth Chilton would be publisher, Norman W. Shumate III, chief financial officer, and Craig Selby, general manager.
Thus, through fire, flood, war, merger, and changes in management and personnel, the Gazette has persisted to publish for more than 100 years.
About the Charleston Daily Mail
The origins of the Charleston Daily Mail date to the 1880's, when a number daily and weekly publications were vying for position in the city. The oldest publication in the city was the Evening Call, established in June 1881 by F.R. Swann and George Warren. The first Charleston publication to use the Mail name was The Evening Mail, which Swann began publishing in 1893. At that time, there were three daily and six weekly papers in Charleston.
The Evening Mail became a morning paper in 1894 after Warren sold his interest to John B. Floyd and John W. Jarrett, who changed the name of the newspaper to the Charleston Mail. Floyd and Jarrett explained to readers that morning trains offered faster service through the state, thereby enabling the newspaper to give more timely news coverage.
The Mail name disappeared briefly from the Charleston scene in 1896 because of a purchase and consolidation. It reappeared in 1899 when Moses Donnally, the owner of The Charleston Gazette, purchased the Star-Tribune newspaper and renamed it the Charleston Mail. Donnally published the Mail as a morning newspaper and the Gazette as an afternoon paper. In 1900, he sold the Gazette, and a year later, he returned the Mail to afternoon publication. As such, it appeared consistently until 1910, when it was sold because of financial difficulty.
On April 2, 1914, the Mail was put on the auction block again. Four days later, on April 6, 1914, it was purchased by 45-year-old Walter Eli Clark, who had been a teacher, reporter, Washington correspondent, gold prospector and governor of Alaska. It was Clark who gave the Daily Mail stable ownership, established its identity as an independent Republican newspaper, and brought it into the modern era.
On April 4, 1920, the Charleston Mail inaugurated a Sunday edition, and became the Charleston Daily Mail. By 1927, the Daily Mail was doing well enough that on April 17 it was moved across Virginia Street from its old quarters (now the site of W.Va. Career College) to a new steel, brick and Indiana limestone building at 1001 Virginia St. E. It was the most modern newspaper plant in the state at that time, and it still is. Expanded several times, it has been the home of both Charleston newspapers since 1960.
After Clark's death in 1950, the leadership of the Daily Mail passed to Frederick M. Staunton, a brother-in-law of Gov. Clark, who served as publisher. Lyell B. Clay, one of Gov. Clark's stepsons, joined the newspaper in 1956. A lawyer and former city solicitor, he succeeded Staunton as publisher of the Daily Mail.
In 1961, the Daily Mail entered into a joint operating agreement with The Charleston Gazette, which enabled the newspapers to share circulation, advertising, accounting and production responsibilities.
On Jan. 1, 1970, Clay tapped John F. McGee, a former executive with Knight Newspapers and before that with newspapers in Charleston and Columbia, S.C., to share executive burdens. He became president of the Daily Mail Publishing Co.
In 1987, the Clay family sold the newspaper to Thomson Newspapers. McGee served as publisher of the newspaper until 1990, when he was succeeded by Terry Horne.
In 1995, David Greenfield was promoted from editor to publisher to replace Horne.
On Jan. 1, 1997, Sam Hindman, a Thomson executive who served as Daily Mail editor in the 1980s, took over from Greenfield as publisher.
Hindman continued to lead the paper after Thomson sold it on July 9, 1998, to MediaNews Group Inc.
In May 2004, the Daily Gazette Co., which publishes The Charleston Gazette, bought the controlling interest in the joint operating agreement from MediaNews Group. MediaNews was paid a fee to manage the editorial operations of the Daily Mail.
At the time of the sale, Nanya Friend, who had been serving as editor since 1997, was named editor and publisher.
The Daily Mail has won awards in many fields. J.D. Maurice, its editor of many years until his retirement in 1978, won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished editorial writing in 1975.
About the Gazette-Mail
On July 19, 2015, the two newspapers combined newsroom functions with the exception of editorial page content.
Susan Shumate was the first publisher of the combined newspaper, and Rob Byers and Brad McElhinny were its first editors.
The combined newspaper staff committed to operating two completely independent editorial pages – the one on the left representing the Gazette's progressive view and the one on the right keeping the Daily Mail's conservative view.
The combined operation also aims to provide the best coverage of news, sports and features in print and online.
Guidelines and Deadlines
Some of the guidelines and deadlines for regular columns in the Gazette-Mail are given below.
Bulletin Board -- The Bulletin Board lists community events and is published daily, Monday through Saturday. Meetings, bake sales and other events open to the public are announced in this column. Information must be submitted in writing (or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for Bulletin Board is noon on the day before an item is to appear.
Church News -- News items about church activities are published on Saturdays. Announcements must be in writing and received before noon Thursday.
Business Faces -- News items about job promotions and changes are published on Sundays in the business section. Items must be received in writing by noon Wednesday. Because of space limitations, announcements of retirements, years-of-service and meetings attended by employees are not published. Also because of space, only photographs of people in management or leadership positions are published. If you want the photograph returned, please put a return address on the back of the photo.
Calendar -- This column lists arts and entertainment events. It is published weekly on Thursdays in the arts and entertainment section. Items must be received in writing by noon Tuesday to appear in the calendar for that week. Feel free to submit photographs of bands, artists, etc. with your release. Put a return address on the back of the photo if you want it back. Art groups that would like a feature story on their shows or plays or exhibits should talk with the arts and entertainment editor several weeks in advance.
Engagements, Weddings and Anniversaries -- These items are handled through the classified advertising department of Charleston Newspapers and are paid for by those placing the notices. Because of early deadlines, these items must be submitted at least 12 days before the Sunday you wish them to run. The deadline is 5 p.m. on the Tuesday a week and a half before publication. Contact Michael Parsons 304-348-4856 for information.
Obituaries -- Obituaries are handled by the advertising department. The deadline is 5 p.m. one day before publication. Obituaries clerks can be reached at 348-5182; fax 348-5133; email email@example.com.
Letters to the Editor -- The Gazette and Daily Mail opinion pages welcome letters and publish them as soon as possible. The letters are subject to being edited, and we urge writers to limit their letters to about 200-250 words. Writers must sign their name and give their complete address. We want, but don't publish, a daytime phone number. Contributors who write frequently are limited to one letter a month. And we don't use "open" letters (those addressed to another person) or letters that have appeared in another paper. For Gazette letters, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions, call Dawn Miller at 348-5117. For Daily Mail letters, email them to email@example.com. For questions, call 304 348-4802.
Class Notes -- Class Notes are published on Saturdays, and occasionally on Mondays, and list student achievements and other information concerning education. Some of those items include recipients of college scholarships of $1,000 or more, awards given to elementary and secondary students, doctoral degrees, appointments to military academies, and significant academic achievements of students.
Miscellaneous -- The Gazette-Mail also prints stories about Eagle Scouts, new club officers and winners of beauty contests.
Stories not used -- The Gazette-Mail generally does not publish some stories because they occur too frequently. Those include deans' lists, school honor rolls, selection for Who's Who, military news, contestants in beauty contests, fourth- or fifth-generation stories and photos, proclamations declaring state or national days or weeks, such as national education or child abuse weeks.
A Final Thought
The Gazette-Mail is part of the community and wants to report news that would be of interest to our readers. Don't feel intimidated about contacting us. We won't be able to do stories on every idea or news tip that we receive. And although we can only report on a small percentage of events, we won't know about any of them unless you tell us.
Here are the hours and telephone numbers of some Gazette-Mail departments:
City Desk -- 348-5100 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Sports -- 348-1749 or 348-5175, 3 p.m. to midnight.
Arts and Entertainment -- 348-5115, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.
Flipside -- 348-4881, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.
Photographs -- 348-5100, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Business news -- 348-4869, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.
Obituaries -- 348-5182
- For news -- 348-1233
- For sports, 348-1740
1001 Virginia St. E. Charleston, WV 25301.