Experienced newspaper editor and reporter now offering his talents as a freelance copywriter and editor for corporate, non-profit and individual clients.
- One of the most prolific winners in the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s Keystone Press Awards for weekly newspapers in virtually every reporting and writing category
- More than 35 years as a journalist for daily and weekly newspapers, with quality copy delivered on deadline
- Adept interviewer and researcher experienced at transforming raw information into concise and compelling copy
- Experience in business case studies and website copy for clients in consulting, software, insurance, legal and service industries
- Experienced book editor and author
SkillUnlimited, LLC (Wes Skillings) Wyalusing, PA (2010-Present) Freelance Copywriter and Editor
Writing and researching skills honed from decades as a journalist applied to copywriting assignments, including corporate case studies and professional and training websites
- Business case studies for FutureThink in 2010 featuring Google, Virgin, Pixar, DuPont and Procter & Gamble
- Writing copy for websites, including the career coaching website, biginterview.com, the Lehman Law Firm, PC in New Jersey
- Writing website content and news releases in conjunction with You Can Be Found (YouCanBeFound.com) to achieve higher search engine profiles, including damage restoration clients such as NYC Mold Cleanup and RDC Restoration in New York and New Jersey, and CSAV Systems, a digital audio-visual specialist in New Jersey
- Providing ongoing website content and corporate news releases for the Tuscarora Wayne Group of Companies, a Pennsylvania-based underwriting firm, including corporate members— Tuscarora Wayne Insurance Company (TW), Keystone National Insurance and Lebanon Valley Insurance Company (LVI)
- Currently providing website copy, including blogs and insurance industry news, as well as news releases on company and personnel accomplishments, for Gannon Associates Insurance, an independent insurance agency with multiple service locations in Pennsylvania and New York
- Writing all the website content on a innovative website (kimhubbardstory.com) outlining a Pennsylvania criminal case, including evidence, testimony and witness affidavits, contradicting the case used to convict a young man of the murder of a 12-year-old girl in Williamsport, PA
- Writing a recently published book entitled “A Matter of Recovery” based on extensive interviews and research on a young man’s journey back from massive traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Four-star rating with Writer Access and the same with Elance, freelancer clearinghouses, with several jobs completed to the satisfaction of the clients (Note: These are fairly new relations and clients tend not to offer rates comparable to standard copywriting fees)
- Continue to write weekly commentary, as well as occasional human-interest features and news stories for the (Wyalusing, PA) Rocket-Courier newspaper at www.rocket-courier.com
Rocket-Courier (Keeler Newspapers) Wyalusing, PA (Nov. 1986-March 31, 2011)
Editor and Featured Reporter/Writer
During the course of a 24-year editorship, which included computerization and entering the digital age, presided over all aspects of the editorial demands of this respected and award winning weekly publication.
- Aside from writing and editing, duties included design and layout of the front news pages in a publication that doubled in size while editor
- Winner of a 15 state awards bestowed by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association for weekly newspapers over a 14-year span, including hard news reporting, features and being ranked the No. 1 weekly newspaper columnist in Pennsylvania in 2010 in its most competitive division
- Covered virtually every kind of news event, from murder trials to the invasion of natural gas drillers on the Marcellus Shale, developing an expertise in politics, business, environmental issues and government
The Daily Review Towanda, PA (July 1979-Nov. 1986) News Editor, Columnist and
Manned the night news desk for a morning daily newspaper and was responsible for a weekly column that was a favorite among readers, as well as special writing and reporting assignments, including investigative reporting.
- Presided over small staff of reporters and freelancers (stringers), assigning stories and editing copy, and was primarily responsible for the design and layout of the newspaper, as well as meeting nightly deadlines
- Completed numerous special reporting assignments, columns and features while fulfilling the demands of editor. This included an investigative series that earned a first-place award from Pennsylvania Managing Editors of the Associated Press for Public Service in 1980
The Grit Williamsport, PA (June 1972-July 1979)
Served in various capacities for this national weekly feature publication with a circulation of 1.3 million at the time. The Grit Publishing Company also published a Sunday local newspaper with a circulation of over 40,000.
- Wrote feature articles, mostly human interest, for the national publication, covered news beats for the local Sunday paper and also worked the Saturday night sports desk.
- Interviewed a number of celebrities or well-known personages, including Paul Harvey, Brent Musberger, Lynn Anderson and the founders of Amway, Rich Devos and Jay Van Andel
- Authored a high-profile series about the possible injustices of a young man convicted of the murder of a 12-year-old girl in the early 1970’s, leading to investigative reporters from the Philadelphia Inquirer and ABC’s 20/20 investigating the case
EDUCATION AND SERVICE
- Mansfield University – Mansfield, Pennsylvania, Bachelor of Arts, January 1972. Major: English. Minor: Creative Writing (attended through the GI Bill). While a student a winner of a national student writing competition sponsored by Atlantic magazine
- United States Army (November 1966-June 1968), Honorable Discharge (E-5 Rank), M.O.S.— Intelligence Analyst
- Service: One-Year Tour in Vietnam; Special Assignment with Defense Intelligence Agency (Pentagon)
Additional Professional Development
Various courses and seminars through the American Press Institute (API), the Associated Press Managing Editors Association and the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. Training and instructional programs through the American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI), including attending its copywriting Boot Camps in Delray Beach, FL, in 2011 and 2012
Contact Wes to Learn More
Wes Skillings is a Pennsylvania-based copywriter whose recent emergence into this field brings a freshness and vitality that will make the words on your website, newsletter, direct mail marketing or news release reach out and grab the customer base you are seeking.