Recommended freelance and contractual services for the West Virginia newspaper industry

WVPA NOTE: This information on this page is part of the West Virginia Press Association’s effort to provide member newspapers with vetted resources to help with the unique challenges facing our industry. The WVPA has worked with every company and individual featured on this page. If you have questions, contact Don Smith, executive director, at [email protected].


Sponsorship and Marketing Consultant:



What is your newspaper’s strategy for sponsorships?  You’re not sure? Or, worse yet,  you are sure that your newspaper doesn’t have a strategy for getting the most out of the thousands of dollars it donates to sponsorships.

Jack Cipoletti Point Forward
Jack Cipoletti
Point Forward

It’s time to bring in Jack Cipoletti of Point Forward.

While our newspapers often look at sponsorships as a philanthropic activity, the reality is they can offer well-deserved recognition and benefits. Unfortunately, newspaper executives who are the first to approve sponsorship requests are often the last to realize and claim the recognition and benefits.

Is your newspaper getting the most out of its sponsorships? Do you view it as a marketing expense, or an investment that can have a measurable ROI? How do you judge? What should you expect from a sponsorship?

The WVPA recommends our member newspapers turn to Point Forward LLC, a marketing agency specializing in sponsorship development. Jack Cipoletti, CEO, can help our members develop a sponsorship strategy that maximizes the return on a newspaper’s sponsorship marketing investments.

“Jack’s insight and experience with sponsorship strategy is a unique and valuable tool for all newspapers,” said Don Smith, executive director of the WVPA.

“I’m certain that Jack’s advice will result in real and measurable benefits for our newspapers.  Across this state, our newspapers give away tens of thousands of dollars in sponsorships. We applaud that community spirit.

“Unfortunately, far too often we’re also giving away the earned benefits that come with those sponsorships.  Jack can help your newspaper develop a strategy that both coordinates and maximizes your sponsorship donations.”

For more information, read our Point Forward post.

Point Forward, LLC

Jack Cipoletti, CEO

(O) – 304-346-3351   (M) – 304-444-6933

311 ½ Washington Street West, Charleston, WV 25302-2230


Reporters and Journalists:

Looking for writing services ranging from coverage of events for newspapers to production of full-length book manuscripts? Wanting high quality and personal service? 

George Hohmann
George Hohmann
The WVPA recommends you talk with George Hohmann.
Hohmann – the former business editor of the Charleston Daily Mail and West Virginia newspaper veteran — is now working on a freelance basis. He has covered numerous events for the WVPA, including a 10-month legislative series on “Our Children, Our Future,” a grass-roots political movement. Hohmann is a featured journalist on the West Virginia Press Association Sharing Network.
“George is an award-winning reporter and a true professional,” said Don Smith, executive director of the WVPA.
“His coverage is fair, accurate and interesting. He understands deadlines, provides clean, concise copy  and appreciates the value of an interesting and insightful quote. He also understands and appreciates the importance of a limited budget.
“With George, you’re getting an experienced professional and a tremendous value. Editors should remember this one point: When the event or story is complicated, hiring George isn’t.”
Hohmann has more than 40 years of writing experience. Following graduation from West Virginia University in 1970, he worked for legendary West Virginia Hillbilly Editor Jim Comstock. He was a founding member of the Washington bureau of the Thomson Newspapers chain. He has worked for his hometown daily, the Times West Virginian in Fairmont, W.Va.; The Pittsburgh (Pa.) Press; The Piqua (Ohio) Daily Call; and, most recently, the Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail. His business stories also have appeared in major metro dailies.

Newspapers can cover big stories in West Virginia by sending a reporter or by engaging Hohmann, a trusted freelancer. Whether it’s a Public Service Commission hearing, state Economic Development Authority meeting, the annual Governor’s Energy Summit or the state chamber’s Business Summit, Hohmann can provide the coverage you need – on your deadline – at a reasonable price.

Hohmann offers other services. Working on a book?

You’ve got an idea — but how do you turn it into a manuscript?” Hohmann said. “From assisting with the concept to identifying your audience to shaping your idea into a finished product, we can help every step of the way.” 

 For more information, visit

Read samples one and two of Hohmann’s articles, more of which are featured on

George Hohmann LLC

 (304) 419-1916

On twitter @GeorgeHohmann

West Virginia Columnists:

EDITOR’S NOTE: The columnists listed below are veteran West Virginia columnists who have been recruited by the WVPA for possible syndication in our state’s newspapers. The columns are entertaining, insightful and appreciative of our state’s people and culture. All the columnists have worked with West Virginia newspapers and understand the requirements of reader interest, deadlines, word count and limited budgets. They are available on a regular or occasional basis. The WVPA can assist your newspaper in contacting the columnists or you can contact them directly.

“It’s our goal to provide editors with access to West Virginia columnists who can provide high-quality, clean columns on a deadline basis,” said Don Smith, executive director of the WVPA.

“Don’t waste time rewriting submitted columns of questionable quality and reader interest. Improve your newspaper and your spirits with these West Virginia columnists.”



Linda Arnold
Linda Arnold


Linda Arnold, the author of “Live Life Fully,” boils down complex issues into plain language that resonates with her audience.  The information is relayed in an entertaining manner, and her “voice” has garnered quite a following in its seven years of publication.

Although the columnist has been a business owner with master’s degrees in both business administration and psychological counseling, she presents solutions and resources to everyday challenges that are easily understood.

Arnold is a certified wellness instructor and is passionate about the arenas of health, wellness, mind, body and spirit.  She’s also the founder and former chairman of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications company with offices in West Virginia, Montana and Washington, D.C., for the past 25 years.

The column’s content, by its very nature, lends itself to being repurposed for multimedia consideration.  For example, brief video clips could be produced and packaged for added value and multiple revenue streams, as appropriate.

The columnist has been a television interviewer and has experience as on-camera talent if that would be helpful in positioning and producing such content – or with other promotional efforts that could yield a greater return on investment.

The material is generally “evergreen” in terms of content and universal in terms of geographic distribution.

Read a sample of Arnold’s column

Linda Arnold

[email protected]


Giles Snyder 2GILES SNYDER

Giles Snyder’s humor column appears every other Saturday in The Journal, the daily newspaper serving West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle.

But since you can barely buy a bag of dog food on a columnist’s salary, he hasn’t quit his day job. After a long career at West Virginia Public Broadcasting in his hometown of Charleston, Snyder now commutes from Martinsburg to his job as a newscaster at National Public Radio in Washington, D.C. In return for his column, donations to his dog Rodney’s food fund are eagerly accepted.

Giles Snyder

[email protected]


Read a sample of Snyder’s column

Snyder’s Aug. 5, 2014 , column

Sean O'Leary
Sean O’Leary


O’Leary is a columnist for The Charleston Gazette and was a featured columnist in The Journal of Martinsburg.

He provides insight on state politics and an other issue influencing life in West Virginia. He is also a playwright, marketing consultant, and occasional blogger writing from Harpers Ferry, W.Va. For more about his plays, visit

Read a sample of O’Leary’s columns

Sean O’Leary

[email protected]




A retired English professor, Withrow is the author of four books: The Confident Writer, a grammar-based college textbook; From the Grove to the Stars, a centennial history of West Virginia State College; More than Penny Candy and Beyond the Apple Orchard, both anthologies of her essays. Her columns have appeared in The State Journal and the Charleston Daily Mail. She is also a regular essayist for Now & Then, a scholarly publication published by Tennessee State University. Contact Dolly at [email protected].

Here is a sample from Withrow’s column “Can Creative Nonfiction Save Newspapers?”

“… Journalists give the essence of the story in the clothesline lead. They have been taught to begin a news story by telling the reader who, what, where, when, why and how. Any good journalist knows what the inverted pyramid is. All the important facts are at the top, and then the writer can taper down to less significant details. If space doesn’t allow those details, they can be lopped off. For journalists, then, the devil is in the details, and who wants to deal with the devil? Not journalists.

For fiction and creative nonfictions writers, the delight is in the details because they love vivid descriptions and the more details the better as long as they are relevant to the story. Novelists want the reader to be there with the characters in the story, so they give specific colors, aromas and dialogue. In other words, they lay in the scene, build a bit of tension, increase it to capture the readers and hold them spellbound. It’s a good tack, and nonfiction writers would do well to follow suit. …”           Read the entire column

Dolly Withrow

[email protected]

Tech and Internet Operations:



Odd Boat Studio is the multimedia studio of Drew Tanner, based in West Virginia’s Mid Ohio Valley. With an extensive background in community media and marketing, Tanner and Odd Boat Studio specialize in serving small businesses, non-profits and rural community media organizations. Services include web design and hosting, photography, writing, print design, marketing, social media strategy, and radio production.

Want to know more about Tanner, visit

Tanner designed the website and many others around the state.

“I just can’t say enough good things about working with Drew. He listened to our goals and, with his expertise, gave us more than we ever expected or deserved,” said Don Smith, executive director of the WVPA.

“It’s comforting to have a tech person who will listen to your needs, not just install his favorites of the latest bells and whistles. Drew listened and then gave us advice and recommendations. He worked to make our vision a reality He did not turn his vision into our reality. Besides his great work, Drew Tanner is also one of the more interesting people you will meet.”

Drew Tanner
Photography & Design
608 Central Avenue
Williamstown, WV 26187
[email protected]




Peery has more than 25 years experience troubleshooting hardware and software problems, supplying networking services, support and training. He provides quick service to small businesses and individual computer users. His specialties include support of Apple technologies, graphic design support, network troubleshooting, training, Windows support, database design.

“Al is outstanding and has never let us down,” said Don Smith, executive director of the WVPA. “He is so experienced that he really troubleshoots problems just from the telephone call. He’s especially helpful for newspapers. He works with Apple and Windows. Al is very talented. He even takes outstanding photos. I mean excellent photos.”

Al Peery

(304) 345-8060

[email protected]


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