Our newspapers have many reasons to be thankful

Changes have had positive impacts, readers offering support.

  • Thursday, November 28, 2019 8:30am
  • Opinion

It’s been a little more than a year since I was given the helm of our seven community newspapers on the Eastside and the Valley.

In that year, we’ve seen staffing changes, a relocation of our main office from Bellevue to Kirkland, and changes to the way we focus our local news coverage.

Last spring, we moved our main office — where our editorial staff and much of the sales staff are housed — from Bellevue to Kirkland. Our company president and other senior staff did the heavy lifting over a three-day weekend. Our Snoqualmie office has been undergoing renovations but has not closed. Our Valley sales reps will still work from the Valley office and we have no plans to close or move out of that office at this time. It’s important to us that we maintain a Snoqualmie Valley presence.

We said good bye to some reporters who had been with the papers long enough to pen farewell columns. Shaun Scott (who covered sports for many years), Katie Metzger (who had reported for Mercer Island), Kailan Manandic (who started with the Kirkland and Bothell/Kenmore Reporters), and Evan Pappas (who reported on the Valley) all moved on to new, exciting chapters in their lives and careers. They’re missed, but we’re excited to have a solid staff together today in the newsroom, all of whom are eager to report on the news of the Eastside and in the Valley.

In our newsrooms, we’ve made a push to return the focus to local coverage and to push regional coverage either deep inside or completely off the pages. These are community newspapers, and they should be focused on news happening within their respective communities. Big events on the Eastside that warrant coverage across all the publications are not ignored — protests at King County Library System events, alleged discrimination, and matters of public safety that can impact or resonate through all of our communities — and they will continue to find a home in our community publications. But the primary focus and directive remains local news, and we’ll continue to hone that focus.

Are you receiving our newspaper at your home? If not, email the editor at the address in the letters guide at the top of the page and let us know that you want to receive the paper.

There is reason to be thankful this season: In October, our Eastside publications received several Washington Newspaper Publishers Association awards; our online readership is strong; our sales department continues to make strides and connections throughout the community; further, we’ve had positive feedback from readers and we’ve received suggestions on where we can still improve.

Today, I remain thankful for the readers who have decided to support our publications through their subscriptions. And I’m also incredibly thankful to the readers who have sent us unsolicited monetary support — not for a subscription, mind you, just a check and a thank-you note for our newspapers. It happened more than once last year, and it was the first time I had ever experienced that at any publication in my time as a journalist.

Thank you as well to the community members who participate with our reporters so we can celebrate your stories and the advances of your communities. Not every story is comfortable to tell, and some stories are personal, but you have trusted in us to share your stories with your community, and we hope telling those stories has strengthened your communities and the connections between community members in some way.

There is much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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Don C. Brunell is a regional columnist.