Spirit adds Burns as ad chief, promotes Snyder

CHARLES TOWN – The Eastern Panhandle’s oldest newspaper has a new ad director and is promoting its award-winning managing editor to a new position, Spirit of Jefferson publisher Craig See has announced.

Mary Burns, a longtime Charles Town resident with more than a decade of experience in newspaper advertising, joins the Spirit staff this week.

Mary Burns, a Cleveland native with more than a decade of experience in newspaper ad sales, is joining the Spirit of Jefferson this week. The Jefferson County resident starts her new position on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Snyder has been promoted to Editor, See said. Snyder, who lives in Ranson, was hired a year ago as managing editor of the 168-year-old weekly newspaper.

Burns, a native of Cleveland who studied at Cleveland State University, most recently worked at The Journal in Martinsburg and its weekly publication in Jefferson County, The Shepherdstown Chronicle. Burns said she is excited to be part of the Spirit and to help businesses in Jefferson County grow.

“I absolutely love this community,” said Burns, who came to the Panhandle with her husband, George H. Burns III, a retired Coast Guard commander who now runs his own business, Marport Security.

“We moved so often when the children were younger and we wanted to settle down somewhere where the kids would have the best opportunity to excel in school and sports,” she said. “We found both in Jefferson County.

“Every aspect of my life has brought me closer to the people here. “

In her new job, Burns said she’ll connect the business community to the Spirit and its growing weekly readership.

“It’s my plan to bring my expertise and strong work ethic to help add success to each and every business I work with,” she said. “I am ready for this new challenge.”

A West Virginia University football fan and an avid runner, Burns is a mother of five who also has three grandchildren with another on the way. She is an active member of St. James Catholic Church in Charles Town.

Burns’ work experience also includes providing customer care for health insurance companies and as an in-home daycare provider.

Before joining the Spirit in August of last year, Snyder served as the city editor for the Frederick News-Post in Frederick, Md.

Last month at the West Virginia Press Association’s annual conference at Stonewall Resort, the 47-year-old Baltimore native led the Spirit to its first-ever second-place General Excellence award in the state’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The paper was honored in categories including news writing, in-depth reporting, feature coverage, columns, headlines, photography and newspaper design.

Any work published in 2011 was eligible for the contest, but all the Spirit’s entries came from August through December – after Snyder joined the paper.

Snyder’s long career in journalism began at The Sun in Baltimore.

As an editorial cartoonist there, he won multiple honors for his work, including a first-place award from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association.

He also won dozens of awards as a reporter and editor at the The Journal in Martinsburg and also has worked as a reporter at the Herald-Mail in Hagerstown, Md., and The Winchester Star in Virginia, and as editor of regional business magazines.

He earned an English degree with honors from University of Maryland-Baltimore County and also has experience as a high school art teacher and graphic designer.

A resident of the Eastern Panhandle since 2004, he also is the father of an 18-year-old son in his first year at WVU.

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