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WVPA and healthy living

John Conley Civitas News Service

September 5, 2013

PINEVILLE — Spreading the word about healthy living was the focus of a meeting held at the DHHR office in Pineville recently.


Representatives of the West Virginia Press Association (WVPA), local media, Change the Future West Virginia and other organizations took part in the meeting.


The discussion was led by Kate Long, a former Charleston Gazette reporter now working with Change the Future WV.


“Helping with the meetings in Wyoming and Mercer Counties came after a call from Kate Long,” said Don Smith, executive director of the WVPA. “(She) had heard that the WVPA was developing a healthy living initiative for its member newspapers in 2014.”


“Kate thought that the WVPA involvement in the Change the Future WV meetings would benefit the newspapers, the WVPA, Change the Future WV and the communities,” Smith commented. “She was right. I think the channels of communication will be greatly improved from the idea-sharing at the meetings.”


Long provided statistics from the Bureau for Public Health which show Wyoming County above the state average in diabetes, obesity and arthritis. The myths surrounding chronic diseases are an obstacle to getting better, Long indicated.


“A lot of people don’t know you can prevent it,” she said.


Kathy Brunty of the Family Resource Network observed that many persons with diabetic relatives think it is inevitable that they will suffer from it, too.


Ideas for getting health-related stories with a local angle into newspapers were discussed.


Success stories (persons who have lost weight or started to exercise), recipes for eating healthy foods in an economical way and providing information on places to walk or exercise were among the possibilities mentioned.


It was also suggested that newspapers provide a regular spot in their pages for healthy living information.


Long, who has been a writing coach, provided a brief tutorial on how to grab a reader’s attention and write clearly.


The Pineville meeting was the second of its type that day. A similar meeting was held earlier in Mercer County.


Smith said the meetings reflect “an expanding outreach effort by the West Virginia Press Association on behalf of our member newspapers.


“There are so many organizations, businesses and projects in West Virginia that would benefit from involvement with the West Virginia newspaper industry on a statewide level,” he continued. “That is one of the roles of the WVPA: The representative of the newspaper industry at the statewide level. Each community understands the benefits of working with the local newspaper.


“The WVPA involvement comes on the larger level, when a project calls for working with several or all of our member newspapers,” Smith said.


“Whether it’s helping coordinate public meetings such as these in southern West Virginia, meeting with the state’s industries, businesses and associations, working with government agencies and committees, or implementing a statewide advertising campaign, the WVPA represents all of the newspapers in West Virginia,” stated Smith.