What WV News Publisher, Andy Kniceley, Thinks of COVID-19

Posted by Jim Matuga


Apr 20, 2020 1:57:03 PM

Andy Kniceley, Publisher of WV News, manages a wide range of ancillary publications and websites, including:

  • The Exponent Telegram
  • The State Journal
  • WV News
  • Morgantown News, Blue & Gold News
  • Fairmont News
  • Bridgeport News
  • Weston News
  • Preston News & Journal
  • Garrett Co. Republican
  • NCWV Life magazine

Kniceley interviewed with Positively WV to discuss the COVID-19 impact on WV News and its surrounding communities. 

KNICELEY'S OVERVIEW OF THE COVID-19 IMPACT

What can West Virginia businesses do – right now – to survive this current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic situation we're all facing today?

Andy Kniceley

Kniceley said, "This COVID-19 event is something we've never faced before. We've gone through events in our life that really shook the economy. But, nothing in our lifetime has ever shut down businesses and forced people to stay at home. There's nothing that's ever been like that so people are searching for answers, but they don't know.
 
I think there's great hope. I think because of the great job our healthcare leaders have done in terms of making sure that we understand the best way to defeat this virus is through social distancing and to do good hygiene and not to touch your hands to your face. 
 
Obviously, the numbers in West Virginia are way below what the projections were."

WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS FOR WEST VIRGINIA?

"Everybody is wondering what's the next step. How do we open back up? When will that take place? What will that look like? I think that's going to depend on a lot of the different parts of the state where you're located. The counties that have some hotspots may have a different reopening than counties that are more rural and have very little cases. 

I do think West Virginia will come out early amongst the states in terms of opening for business," said Kniceley. 

INNOVATION AT WV NEWS

Kniceley has been active in numerous community organizations, including:

  • Chairman of Fairmont State University Board of Governor's 
  • Campaign Chairman of Marion County United Way
  • President of West Virginia Press Association
  • Trustee of West Virginia Press Foundation
  • Harrison County Chamber of Commerce
  • Healthy Harrison "Last to First" Coalition
  • West Virginia Lottery Commission

"We are a community media, 100 percent locally owned. We're very rooted in serving local communities, local businesses and being good partners with local businesses. In doing that, when our local community strives, we're going to strive. When our businesses and communities suffer, then we're going to suffer as well. 

We feel like it's our responsibility to help small businesses get back on their feet, as soon as the state government tells us we can start the process," said Kniceley.

Kniceley holds responsibility for all day-to-day operations from advertising, circulation, news, production to digital media. In addition, Kniceley is a columnist and member of the Editorial Board. 

"We have 14 publications here in West Virginia and one in Garrett County, Maryland. It's all relatively local. We have businesses going online here. The application has some basic questions on it. Based on those questions, we review those applications and we are granting matching funds for three months - May, June and July. It can go as low as $100 a month to $5,000. 

It's going to give [businesses] the ability to start back up strong with a marketing plan, and it's going to cost them half of what it normally would. The other thing we're doing is allowing a 90 day delayed payment plan. It helps them get back on their feet through the marketing and advertising out to the businesses they need to start back up. The best thing is there's no pressure to pay right away - they have a 90-day window," said Kniceley. 

During his 34-year career in newspapers, Kniceley has experience with numerous positions and worked at the following publications:

  • Marketing Manager of the Charleston Gazette and Charleston Daily Mail
  • Advertising Director of the Mansfield (OH) News Journal
  • V.P. Business Development of Thomson Newspapers (Central Ohio SMG)
  • Publisher of The Daily Courier, Connellsville (PA)
  • Asst. Publisher Clarksburg Exponent Telegram
  • Publisher of the Times West Virginian (Fairmont)
  • Publisher of the Exponent Telegram
  • Publisher of NCWV Media

"Our reporters are doing a great job of going out there and telling the local story, the local impact of what COVID-19 is having on our communities," Kniceley continued, "Day after day when you see negative things happening, it does tend to wear on you. John Miller, Executive Director of NCWV News, discusses the impact this can have on our reporters. The great thing about it is that all of our reporting staff, it's interconnected. 

There's a lot of good things, too, about being a reporter and having the breadth of what we publish and what we do online. Our digital audience is normally over three million paid views a month. During this coronavirus, it's up about 60 percent on page views. With that, we have a lot of opportunities from a digital marketing standpoint. With this equity match and grant fund, it's for both print products and digital products," said Kniceley. 

Apply to a grant from WV News here.

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Jim Matuga

Written by Jim Matuga

Jim Matuga is the founder and President of InnerAction Media, a marketing agency in Morgantown, WV. His new book available on AMAZON, Marketing Matters, was inspired by his regular column in the State Journal. You can listen to his weekly podcast “Positively West Virginia” on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play. He has extensive experience in leadership positions with West Virginia media companies, including newspapers, TV, cable, direct mail, radio, agency and digital.

Topics: Positively WV, COVID-19