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WVPA Convention 2015 starts Thursday

President’s Reception set for The Culture Center and State Museum; bus leaving at 6:15 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.VA — The West Virginia Press Association’s Convention 2015 kicks off Thursday and offers the state’s newspaper industry three days of recognition, education and celebration.

2015 WVPA Convention program Cover photo

Activities start with Thursday’s President’s Reception — held this year at The Culture Center and State Museum on the Capitol Complex in Charleston — and continue with seminars and events at The Embassy Suites on Friday and Saturday

“The West Virginia Press Association is bringing newspaper representatives from around the state to Convention 2015 and city of Charleston. We know our attendees will enjoy both,” said Don Smith, executive director of the West Virginia Press Association. “Traditionally, our convention locations are state parks around West Virginia, but Charleston, as the seat of state government and West Virginia’s largest city, offers unique and outstanding opportunities.

“Convention 2015 offers the WVPA and its membership an opportunity to visit with state officials and the many business and industry representatives located in Charleston. It’s important that the West Virginia newspaper industry is accessible to those groups. In 2015, the WVPA worked to bring our newspapers to Charleston. Following the industry’s circulation tradition, the we’re offers state officials and business and industry leaders the WVPA version of ‘home delivery,’” Smith said.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, the WVPA and guests will visit The Culture Center and State Museum on the W.Va. Capitol Complex for the President’s Reception and Hall of Fame Presentation. President Matt Yeager, publisher of the Nicholas Chronicle, WVPA members and guests will hear guest speaker Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and the WVPA Hall of Fame induction ceremony for Thomas Colley and Thomas O’Brien Flynn.

Smith reminds all WVPA members that the bus leaves Embassy Suites at 6:15 for The Culture Center for those not wanting to drive to the Capitol Complex. Those driving to the Capitol will find parking in the Capitol parking lots.

The schedule for Friday and Saturday includes awards banquets and educational seminars:


9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. in Embassy Salon A — Pipelines. Drilling. Cracker plants. Get the latest on one of the state’s hottest issues during an editorial board discussion with the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association. As both an informational exchange and membership training exercise, the WVPA has invited representatives of WVONGA and its membership to sit with a group of WVPA editors for a discussion of WVONGA’s position on the issues facing West Virginia and the national gas industry. Issues such as pipelines, drilling, royalties, cracker plants and forced pooling are on the table for discussion. This program serves as an opportunity for our industry to hear the latest update from industry officials. It also serves as a training opportunity for our editorial staff members and as an example of the WVPA’s editorial page sharing initiative.

9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. in Embassy Salon B – Want to make retaining subscribers easier? What if canceling your newspaper subscription also meant canceling your restaurant and theater discounts? Circulation and advertising staff members, along with publishers, are invited to learn about adding more customer value to your newspapers’ subscription. Rich Brest of Subscriber Promotions will outline a low cost rewards program that combines circulation and advertising to attract, engage and retain current and future subscribers. Subscriber Promotions is now working with more than 100 newspapers. The program includes a national mobile rewards app providing newspaper subscribers with discounts to over 25,000 businesses in 43 states. It’s an interesting insight into today’s marketing possibilities.

10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. in Embassy Salon B — Give your classified revenues a boost by giving customers access to a bigger classified marketplace. Publishers and advertising directors will want to hear about the increased revenue opportunities with The new online employment site gives newspapers another opportunity to increase and retain classified employment advertising. Founded by Charleston Newspapers and Shaker, a national recruitment-advertising agency, is also being made available through the WVPA to its member newspapers. As a possible alternative or addition to your current online option — or as a new online revenue stream for your newspaper — this presentation will explain the advertising benefits of focusing on West Virginia jobs for West Virginia residents.

Noon – 2 p.m. in Embassy Ballrooms D&E — West Virginia Press Association’s Advertising Awards Luncheon. The top individual advertising efforts in the state are recognized, along with the top newspapers in each circulation division. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will be the featured speaker at the luncheon.

2:15 p.m. in Embassy Ballroom A — Legal and Election Advertising. Are you getting all the required legal ads? Can you do a better job of selling and explaining election advertising? This panel discussion will assist advertising staff in handling election advertising, ballot advertising and legal advertising. The panel includes representatives of Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office, WVPS Advertising Director Samantha Smith, and Kent Gates, professional political consultant.

3:30 p.m. in Embassy Ballroom A — Alcohol/Festival/Beer Marketing Seminar: It’s legal to market events that offer alcohol — but the options for marketing sales at fairs, festivals, clubs, restaurants and craft beer locations are varied and the rules and regulations are complex. This panel discussion centers on the marketing and advertising for alcohol in West Virginia, especially at county fairs and festivals and with the new craft beer industry: Where are the opportunities for advertising and what are the limitations? Moderator Linda Arnold, an advertising and marketing professional with the Arnold Agency and a newspaper columnist, will lead the discussion. Panelists include Amy Goodwin, West Virginia Tourism Commission; Ken Linch, vice-president of the West Virginia Craft Beer Guild and co-owner/brewer of Bridge Brew Works LLC in Fayetteville; and Samantha Smith, advertising director of the West Virginia Press Association.

6 p.m. until 8 p.m. in Embassy Ballroom D&E — The WVPA Evening Social is an opportunity for convention attendees and guest to enjoy food, fun and conversation before an evening of music in Charleston.

7 p.m. Live at the Levee at Haddad Riverfront Park — The City of Charleston hosts is weekly outdoor music celebration on the Kanawha River. Just three blocks from the Embassy Suites, Live at the Levee gives attendees the chance to stretch their legs and enjoy an evening of live music.

8 p.m. at the Embassy — The Hospitality Suite opens.



9 a.m. in Embassy Salon B — WVPA General Membership Meeting. The WVPA administration will present updates on operations, Dues, financial reports and budgets.

10:30 a.m. in Embassy Salon A – WVPA free archiving and back-up seminar. Worried about system crashes and loss of data? Membership in the WVPA now provides all newspapers with access to a text-searchable, off-site, back-up archive. Your staff and customers will want to hear how to utilize and access the service. The program is provided through Newz Group, which has operated the WVPA affiliated clipping service since 1998. This program also provides insurance against a catastrophic event or equipment failure that wipes out local archives. Publishers can download past editions from the servers, and be back in business within minutes.

10:30 a.m. in Embassy Salon B – How do we turn good ideas into great stories? A reporter’s 10-step guide to finding good stories. WVPA News Editor Nanya Friend, WVU Professor Nancy Andrews and a panel of journalists lead a discussion to help reporters think more creatively and thoroughly about the stories they tackle. How do we turn good ideas into great stories?

Lunch – on your own and the AP Lookahead Planning meeting. If you’re not scheduled to join the Associated Press for its annual planning meeting, now is a wonderful time explore the city and enjoy lunch on your trip to the Capitol Complex for the afternoon session.

Saturday afternoon at the West Virginia State Capitol and Culture Center –The staff of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History will organize a tour of the state Capitol. Tour time to be determined.

1 p.m. – 2 p.m. — Looking for the best resources for your West Virginia features? Whether you are interested in reviewing old newspapers, checking facts or thinking about ideas related to the state’s culture, heritage and history, some of your best sources are located in the Culture Center at the State Capitol.  The West Virginia Division of Culture and History preserves many of the state’s best primary resource documents and has experts who can help you with topics as diverse as state facts, historic preservation, arts and cultural programs.  Deputy Commissioner Caryn Gresham, State Archivist Joe Geiger and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Susan Pierce will talk about some of these great resources and offer tips on what their staffs can do to help you put together a great West Virginia story.

 3 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. — Do you know what the changes in the Freedom of Information Act means to your newsroom? The West Virginia Freedom of Information Update: A WVPA Panel explains the recent changes to the state’s Freedom of Information code. Learn how to file a FOIA request, what information is now considered public record, what to expect in related costs, and what the new FOIA database will mean to journalists. WVU Professor Tom Stewart will serve as moderator for a panel including WV House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead, WVU Professor Pat McGinley, Charleston Gazette-Mail Co-Editor Rob Byers, and Don Smith, WVPA executive director.


6 pm. in Embassy Salon C— Opening reception for the WVPA’s Better Newspaper Contest Banquet


6:45 in Embassy Salon C — The WVPA’s Better Newspaper Contest Banquet. The top individual journalism efforts in the state are recognized. The WVPA will also honor the top newspapers in each circulation division and announces the Newspaper of the Year. The evening concludes with the announcement of the Adam R. Kelly Premier Journalist Award.


9 p.m. at the Embassy — The Hospitality Suite opens.

The convention registration/information desk opens at 3 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday in Embassy Suites’ Salon C:  Salon C will serve as the convention hub where attending can get convention information, updates, and socialize.

“Throughout the weekend, the WVPA has allowed time for attendees, spouses and family to visit downtown Charleston. Using breaks in the schedule, along with the information that will be included in your convention bag at check-in, guests can gain a better understanding of the activities, shopping and offerings of the city,” Smith said, adding, “Look for special information at the registration desk.”



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