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Randy Mooney wins WV Press 2021 Adam R. Kelly Award

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Randy Mooney, recently retired CNHI regional publisher for the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and Register-Herald of Beckley, has won the 2021 West Virginia Press Association’s Adam R. Kelly Award.

The Adam R. Kelly Award was established in 1991 in memory of the late Adam R. Kelly, legendary “Country Editor” columnist and former owner and editor of the Tyler Star News in Sistersville. Kelly was known nationally for his outstanding service to newspapers.

The award is the highest individual honor bestowed by the West Virginia Press Association. It’s given each year in recognition of an individual’s service to the newspapers in the state, the West Virginia Press Association and to the individual’s community.

Mooney is a past-president of the West Virginia Press Association and served as publisher for CNHI holdings in West Virginia including the Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Register-Herald of Beckley, Montgomery Herald, Fayette Tribune, and Princeton Times.

The Bluefield Daily Telegraph won the Newspaper of the Year Award in 2021 and 2020. Mooney’s other newspapers have won numerous General Excellent awards.

The award is normally presented at the WVPA summer convention, but the 2021 event was canceled out of concerns for COVID, as was the 2020 convention.  The award was made through a virtual presentation. You can see the Mooney interview here:

During the interview, Mooney talks about this career, changes in the industry and what he sees as the future for newspapers.

At this retirement in May, Mooney shared the following thoughts:

“Not everyone has the opportunity to work in a career where you are making a difference in people’s lives. While presenting news and opinions that are not always positive or popular can be stressful, I believe the role of newspapers in America is critical to the success of democracy. If we do not hold those in power accountable, who will?

Throughout my career, I have been blessed to have stumbled into work environments where I was surrounded by extremely smart and dedicated people who made me successful. My current executive team and I often say that we are like family. We may sometimes have disagreements but, in the end, we share a common bond of caring greatly about what we do and each other that holds us together.

The newspaper industry has not always been easy. To produce and deliver a completely fresh product every day of the year can be challenging. But to know that people anxiously await its delivery and passionately respond to its content is invigorating. The adrenaline rush that comes from seeking and discovering news first and determining efficient ways to deliver it to consumers is addicting.

To be a service to advertisers by bringing customers to their business Is rewarding. I know that if I was starting all over, I would choose the same path. 

My goal in managing people has always been to do so in a fair, calm, consistent and supportive manner and I hope that in some small way I was able to help those around me develop, grow, and enjoy their work.”

Mooney grew up in St. Albans and graduated from WVU with a BS Journalism degree in 1978.

He started career in 1978 at the Kanawha Valley Leader, a weekly newspaper in Nitro, and had a brief stint at the Twin City Shopping Guide in Nitro before joining Charleston Newspapers, where he worked until 1989.

Mooney then moved his family to Binghamton, New York, to work for the Press & Sun Bulletin where he was awarded a Gannett President’s Ring for outstanding performance twice before moving to Western Pennsylvania to work for the Valley News Dispatch in Tarentum.

He later moved to Ocean City, Md., to work for the Daily Times in Salisbury and then to Savannah, Georgia to work for the Savannah Morning News.

In 2009, Mooney joined CNHI in Muskogee, Okla., as VP of Sales and Marketing for all of the CNHI papers in Oklahoma before becoming publisher at the Muskogee Phoenix and then returning to West Virginia in Bluefield at the Daily Telegraph. He later added responsibilities for the Register-Herald in Beckley and the Times West Virginian in Fairmont.

Mooney and his wife, Amy, intend to stay in Bluefield.

“We have really enjoyed our time here and feel blessed to stay. We are centrally located 5 hours south of our children and grandchildren in Pittsburgh, 5 hours north of children and grandchildren in Augusta, Ga., and can always board a plane to follow our son and his family as he moves around serving as an officer in the US Navy.

The Mooney’s have three children: Jessica and husband Greg Fischer with twin six-year-old boys in Pittsburgh, Pa.; James and wife Tammy with a four-year-old son in Seongnam, South Korea; and Katy and husband Corbin with and one-year-old son and four-year-old daughter in Augusta, Ga. Their two dogs, Molly, a dachshund, and Ruby, a bloodhound, complete the family.

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