A 25-year veteran of the state newspaper industry, and former editor of the Wetzel Chronicle, has been named executive director of the West Virginia Press Association.
Don Smith, who is currently editor of The Journal in Martinsburg, will replace retiring Executive Director Gloria Flowers.
Smith, a communications graduate of West Liberty State College, also has worked for newspapers in Wheeling and Elkins.
Former Wetzel Chronicle Editor Don Smith will soon lead the West Virginia Press Association.
He is a past president and board member of the West Virginia Press Association.
"I am delighted the board was able to attract such a highly qualified candidate for this important leadership position," said Nanya Friend, editor and publisher of the Charleston Daily Mail and the current board president.
"Don was chosen after a thorough search process that generated dozens of excellent candidates. We advertised the position in our member newspapers and in publications with nationwide reach.
"It was gratifying to realize how many top-caliber individuals were interested in us. However, when all was said and done, we decided that our best candidate was home-grown."
Smith is enthusiastic about the future of newspapers.
"West Virginia's newspaper industry, with the multimedia opportunities presented by the Internet and changing technologies, has an exciting and unlimited future," he said. "I'm thrilled by the chance to be part of it.
"With websites, e-editions, and print editions, our newspapers have greater readership and greater influence than ever before. Working with the WVPA staff and our member newspapers statewide, we can build on the successes achieved by Executive Director Gloria Flowers and the WVPA board of directors."
Smith is a native West Virginian who began his newspaper career with Ogden Newspapers even before his graduation from college in 1985.
He started as a copy editor for the Wheeling News-Register, but rose quickly through the ranks.
His career has encompassed company management, editorial operations, advertising sales, and revenue forecasting and generating for both daily and weekly newspapers.
"This broad range of experience is vital for our association," Friend said. "Our group's membership includes 81 daily and weekly newspapers in every county of the state. They have a wide variety of editorial and business concerns, and Don is exceptionally well prepared not only to address those, but also to encourage and inspire us."
Smith will assume his new position May 1. He and his wife, Samantha, have three children: Kit, Abby, and Kate. The family will be relocating to Charleston.
Flowers will remain with the association until June 5. She has been working for months to prepare for a smooth leadership transition.
"It has been my privilege and pleasure to work with the amazing people in our industry over the last three decades," Flowers said.
"I have made a lot of treasured friends. A lot of them are more like family. I feel like I am about to leave my lifelong home."
She has been named to a select group of lifetime members of the association.
"All of us involved in the association appreciate Gloria's long years of service," Friend said. "She has been a tireless advocate of West Virginia newspapers, and I hope she enjoys the retirement she has richly earned."