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WV Press convention focus of state’s media industry

Association celebrates 150 years of service this weekend in Morgantown

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Media from across the state will gather in Morgantown this weekend for the largest annual press event in the state: The West Virginia Press Association Convention.

“The WVPA celebrates 150 years of service to the newspaper industry this year with an acknowledgement of its history and an update on its future,” said Don Smith, executive director of the WVPA.

“Along with our exhibits, educational seminars and awards, we have our Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday inducting John Ailes and Randy Cline. Later that day, we’ll hear about the WVPA’s partnership with West Virginia University: NEWStart. It’s a program to develop the next generation of news industry leaders and future community newspaper owners. As our theme says, it’s ‘150 years in a State of Progress,” Smith explained.

The convention is Friday and Saturday at Lakeview Resort in Morgantown. The event is open to all print and broadcast media and sessions will be live-streamed on @wvpress on Facebook. All government officials and candidates are welcome to visit the convention center and talk with media.

“This is an important time for media in our industry, state and nation,” Smith said. “West Virginia newspapers are a vital part of this state. Our convention is a great opportunity to exchange ideas and information. “

On Saturday, the WVPA is hosting the justices of the West Virginia Supreme Court for a panel on the future of the Court. On Friday, there is also a ‘Conversation with Legislators” and a panel on laws addressing legal advertising marijuana, alcohol and tobacco.”

“As members of the media, we work to keep the public informed, monitor government action and improve our communities and state,” Smith said. “Those duties have always been important.”

“Thomas Jefferson said, ‘The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.’ We certainly enjoy Mr. Jefferson’s viewpoint, but having good government and good newspapers is the best option. Hopefully, events like our convention can improve the performance of both.

“We’re also excited to honor the best newspaper work in West Virginia,” said Smith. “This year, we changed our Friday schedule and those attending the advertising awards luncheon and stay for the afternoon sessions and then attend the President’s Reception. It’s a great value and a way to celebrate the awards,” Smith said. “The editorial awards on Saturday night conclude a day of outstanding sessions.”

Even with a deadline-oriented industry, Smith has been surprised with the number of last-minute calls for reservations. For the convention, register online at eventbrite: To get a room, visit Online: or call: 304-594-1111 or 800-624-8300. The group code is “ WV PRESS“.

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