Opinion

For the Record, it's goodbye

My first day on the job in June 2006 was the day former owner Peter Horvitz announced the impending sale of King County Publications, including the Snoqualmie Valley Record. It's an interesting way to start a new job.

Since then, there have been many changes. We completed a planned redesign of the paper, were purchased by Black Press to became part of Sound Publishing and last month got the new computers we'd been anticipating since before my hire.

Most of the changes have been good for the company and good for Record readers. Likewise, living and working in the Valley have been good to me. Mostly.

Though I lost my pickup and other property in last year's flood (but not enough to get federal aid) and lit candles to take notes during the power outage, the Valley Record won awards for the disaster coverage.

My first stories at the Record were about SWAT team assaults in Snoqualmie and North Bend and the unrelated drowning deaths of North Bend's Tess Sollitto and Kevin Barber of Spanaway in the Snoqualmie River. Among my final stories is one about the mass murder of the Anderson family in Carnation.

My tenure at the helm of the Valley Record, it seems, has been marked by bad news. But that's not why I'm leaving. I'm leaving for good news. I'm getting married. My fiance lives and works in Olympia and I'll be working as a reporter at The Daily World in Aberdeen. We'll both have a short commute if we live somewhere in the middle.

On the other hand, the day I was supposed to interview in Aberdeen was the day southwest Washington was hammered by a severe storm and flooding. The paper had to print for several days at a borrowed facility in Olympia. It seems I will take my luck with me. Perhaps I'll get some good stories out of the deal.

That's what I've enjoyed the most about the Valley: people and their stories. My favorite thing about the job is doing things and meeting people I otherwise wouldn't. Telling those stories is what community journalism is about for me. I believe local newspapers are at their best when they tell a community's stories - good news and bad news alike - without forgetting the small-town spirit or shying away from telling the hard stories that people need to know, even if it's not pretty.

Seth Truscott, who has been a reporter at the Record for almost a year now, will be taking over the editor duties in my stead. His hire was fortunate for the Record. He brings lengthy experience, a familiarity with community journalism and a nose for news ... all the traits needed in a good reporter and editor. With Seth on the beat, I was able to turn my attention to the design, overall content of the newspaper and my reporting. It made the paper stronger overall. If he's able to find a reporter half as good, he'll be lucky. On the other hand, he might want to avoid some of the luck I've had. Maybe that's why he doesn't want to switch desks.

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