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Daily Mail announces editors to fill two senior positions

By From staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Two editors have been named to round out the Charleston Daily Mail's new leadership team.

Philip Maramba, 49, of Charleston has become the newspaper's managing editor, starting today. Kelly Merritt, 52, of South Charleston will take over as the newspaper's editorial page editor in mid-July.

"I'm excited about these two additions," said Brad McElhinny, the Daily Mail's new editor and publisher.

"Philip and Kelly both have had a longtime presence in the Kanawha Valley. Both will represent us well both in and outside the newsroom. We're going through a period of change, but Philip and Kelly make me confident our work will remain strong."

Maramba takes over the managing editor's job from McElhinny, a 41-year-old Charleston resident who was promoted to editor and publisher after the departure of longtime editor Nanya Friend.

"We've made our bones as the city's paper and I'd like to see us broaden our reach to share the stories of those whose voices aren't always heard," Maramba said.

"I think newspapers still have a role in fostering a sense of community. Maybe if we can help people from different parts of town understand each other better, it can draw us closer and strengthen those bonds that hold us together. And, hopefully, we move forward from there."

Save for a nine-month hiatus in Charleston, S.C., Maramba has been a resident of this Charleston since 1998, and a West Virginia resident since 1970. He was raised in Beckley.

He worked at the Register-Herald in Beckley as a copy editor and the Charleston, S.C., Post and Courier, as a senior design editor. He has been design editor at the Daily Mail from 2002 until 2004, and again from 2005 until the present. He was news editor from 2010 until now.

Maramba has a bachelor's degree in biology and a master's in journalism from West Virginia University.

He will oversee day-to-day operations at the Daily Mail, while also maintaining an emphasis on the newspaper's design both in print and online.

"I feel an enormous sense of responsibility to carry on as my predecessors did, with accuracy and fairness and courage — and a bit of cheek and verve and humor thrown in, too," he said. "I'm following in some big footsteps. I hope I can rise to the occasion."

Maramba is married to former Daily Mail staffer Kris Wise Maramba. They have two children, Felix, 3, and Felipa, 1.

Follow Maramba on Twitter @DailyMailPhilip.

Merritt takes over editorial page duties from Johanna Maurice, who has officially retired from her position but is staying on for a few weeks to ease the transition.

"Our vision for the Daily Mail's editorial content is to maintain its focus on limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual rights," McElhinny said. "There will still be a place for community debate in our opinion section, of course."

Merritt comes to the Daily Mail after a 30-year career as a professional communicator.

A 1984 graduate of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism at Marshall University, he has held communications jobs at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Gulf States Utilities in Beaumont, Texas, and spent most of his career at Columbia Gas Transmission in Charleston.

At Columbia, he interacted regularly over the years with Charleston Daily Mail business reporters Phil Nussel, Chris Stadelman and George Hohmann.

He most recently served as communications manager for the Division of Science and Research of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

"I've been a fan of the Daily Mail for a long time," Merritt said. "The Daily Mail was a community newspaper before the term became trendy. I've always liked its focus on the local community, its balanced coverage of state issues, and of course, its insightful editorials.

"I'm honored to be selected for this position, and realize the responsibility of carrying on a tradition of careful and insightful community discourse."

A resident of South Charleston, Merritt has long been active as a volunteer in youth sports, most recently with the South Charleston High School Athletic Boosters. He is the public address announcer for Black Eagle football, a position he's held for more than 20 years. He is the father of two sons, Ed and Brandon, and recently became a grandfather.

Follow him on Twitter @EKMerritt.

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