Member News (8/30/18): Daily Press reporter suffers heart attack; Herald Courier wins national award; Pilot tries a new tool; RTD hires new reporter

By |2018-08-30T18:17:20+00:00August 30th, 2018|
Daily Press reporter suffers heart attack; newspaper, industry peers raise money to support

Dave Ress, Daily Press reporter, author and all-around citizens’ advocate in Virginia, suffered a heart attack while driving to cover a story on Sunday, August 19.

Ress is currently at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. The Daily Press has set up a Go Fund Me page for Ress and his family to help cover the costs of recovery.

Reema Amin, Daily Press reporter and co-host of a Virginia politics podcast with Ress, said: “I cannot stress what Ress means to me and this newsroom. For many others, he is the silent hero behind huge successes for public records access in this state, has exposed gross misuse of taxpayer funds and tells the stories of real people every day. He is a treasure.”

The campaign has raised more than $12,000 thus far. Donations can still be made through the Go Fund Me page.

Bristol Herald Courier wins national award for “Addicted at Birth” series

The Bristol Herald Courier has won another national award for its series of stories that examined children born in southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee that were addicted to drugs at birth because of their mother’s dependencies.

The Associated Press and Media Editors awarded the Herald Courier’s. “Addicted at Birth” series first place in the Public Service in the small newsroom category.

Judges wrote they awarded the Herald Courier for,”a smart, deeply reported and accessibly presented examination of a little-noticed angle of the opioid problem: babies affected by their mother’s use while pregnant. The presentation – from the writing to the headlines to all the visual elements – commanded attention. It was packaged in a very reader-friendly format, offering numerous podcasts, glances, graphics, lists and other chunky bits to both convey key points and pull readers in. Exceptional work.”

The paper also won the Scripps Howard Award for Community Journalism earlier this year for the same series.

Pilot introduces new tool to give digital readers context

The Virginian-Pilot has launched a new tool on its website to help give readers context to the stories they are reading.

On Monday, the Pilot launched “Smart Tagging,” which is the new tool that will provide readers with background on stories’ key phrases and words, according to a column by the Pilot’s digital editor, Erica Smith.

The system will scan articles and highlight contextual words and phrases in gray. Readers may then click the highlighted phrase or words, which will then open a separate browser window containing more information.

The feature is currently being tested only for desktop users in the military news section, according to the article. Readers are encouraged to send feedback to Smith (

Times-Dispatch hires new reporter

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has hired a new enterprise reporter to cover healthcare.

The paper has hired Bridget Balch as its new healthcare reporter. Balch previously worked as a congressional fellow at the American Political Science Association and as a reporter for the Houston Chronicle.

Follow Balch on Twitter @BridgetBalch.

Correction: Last week, there was a member news piece about Michael O’Connor from the Richmond Times-Dispatch taking a new job at Virginia Business. It stated that O’Connor was an editor at RTD. This was incorrect. He was a reporter for RTD.