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October 2011 1

The Washington Newspaper


PRSRT STD U.S. Postage PAID Seattle, WA Permit No. 422

Vol. 96, No.10 October 2011

Journal of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington •



Local dailies tops in Blethens Washington brings home half the awards


Brian Myrick / Daily Record, Ellensburg

Brian Myrick took home first place for the Daily Record in Circulation Group III’s Best Scenic or Pictorial Photograph Category (Color) in the 2010 Washington Better Newspaper Contest. Winners in the 2011 contest will be announced Oct. 7 at the WNPA 124th annual convention in Everett.

Chronicle plans to cut its publication days Centralia paper to print fewer, but larger editions


he Chronicle of Centralia will change its publication frequency to three days a week beginning Oct. 29, publisher Christine Fossett announced last month. The newspaper will publish Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, a reduction by half from its previous six-day schedule. “This change not only positions The Chronicle toward the future of digital, but also strengthens our financial position,” Publisher Christine Fossett said.

“We are a solidly owned and operated paper, but revenues have dipped with the current economic situation and this allows for a strong adjustment if the soft economy continues.” Each issue will be a large, Christine Fossett weekend-type edition, with delivery continuing on Tuesday and Thursday in the afternoon and a morning edition on Saturday. Grocery coverage will be handled on Tuesdays.

Though subscribers have called the newspaper since the change was announced Sept. 6 on page, Fossett reports that fewer than 20 have canceled their subscriptions. Advertisers had noticed Monday and Tuesday issues had gotten thinner, and have responded positively to the news of the larger newspapers expected in the new publication cycle. Advertising rates, deadlines and zones remain the same. An email conversation between TWN and Fossett continues the story.

See CENTRALIA, page 9

Southern takes helm at Kirkland Reporter Redmond success leads to regional publisher position


ndrea Southern has begun work as publisher of the Kirkland Reporter. Southern succeeds Mike Walter, publisher for the former Kirkland Courier and Kirkland Reporter since 2001. Southern will serve as the regional publisher of the Kirkland, Redmond and Bothell/Kenmore

Reporter newspapers. In addition to Southern’s appointment, Renée Walden was also named the sales manager of Andrea the Kirkland Southern Reporter. Josh O’Connor, vice president of East Sound Newspaper Operations, Sound Publishing Inc., says he is “very pleased to have Mrs. Southern join the Kirkland Reporter.

“Andrea is a dynamic leader that brings proven results to our business. In addition to being an excellent communicator, she is very strong in revenue and sales development. Andrea’s commitment to community will be a huge asset to Kirkland.” As publisher of the Redmond Reporter, she has guided the paper to success through many innovative and lucrative changes like the Green Pages and Bumper to Bumper special sections and the Who Am I? feature, which focuses on fun facts about prominent city

figures. The Redmond Reporter won a number of Washington Newspaper Publishers Association awards under her leadership. She fostered strong alliances with the city, the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary and hopes to forge a solid connection with those Kirkland officials and groups, as well. Southern moved to the United States from Jamaica to pursue a communications

See REPORTER, page 8

he 2011 C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards for Distinguished Newspaper Reporting were presented Sept. 15 to writers from 12 daily newspapers in the region. Frank Blethen, publisher and chief executive officer at the Seattle Times, presented plaques to first-and second-place winners at the annual meeting of the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association, Frank held in Blethen Tacoma. The awards honor reporters from newspapers in two circulation divisions (Over 50,000 circ. and Under 50,000 circ.). In the competition for the special Debby Lowman Award for Distinguished Reporting of Consumer Affairs, all entrants compete together, regardless of circulation. Winners of the 2011 C.B. Blethen Memorial Awards are: n Distinguished Coverage of Diversity Under 50,000 circ.: Herald & News staff, Klamath Falls, OR. “Living on the Edge” series Idaho State Journal, Pocatello. John Bulger, Vanessa Grieve, John O’Connell, Sean Ellis, Kendra Evensen: “Tribes Look Past Mistrust, Fort Hall Then & Now” series Over 50,000 circ.: Oregonian, Portland. Nikole Hannah-Jones: “The Census and Portland” Seattle Times staff for their diversity entry n Deadline Reporting Under 50,000 circ.: Daily News staff, Longview. “Shock in Rainier: Police Chief Shot, Killed” The Chronicle, Centralia. Dan Schreiber, Adam Pearson, Brian Mittge and Brandon Swanson: “Triple Murder in Salkum” See BLETHENS, page 6

2 October 2011

The Washington Newspaper

WNPA’s game plan from here: Stop playing defense


ike the newspaper industry it serves, the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association in recent years has undergone dramatic, and sometimes painful, changes. The same revenue model that sustained many newspapers – particularly classifieds income and, to a lesser extent, display ads – also fueled the WNPA’s operations. As those sources of income have steadily declined, the association has repeatedly tightened its belt while continuing to offer outstanding service. Twenty years ago, six or more staffers served members; today we have two and a part-timer. In recent years, the board of directors has, like the little Dutch boy, stuck its fingers in the leaking dike, trimming,

pruning and cutting, all the while endeavoring to maintain a viable organization that meets the needs and interests of our membership. Paul We’ve been Archipley busy putting Publisher, Mukilteo Beaon out fires. and Edmonds I believe there’s a grow- Beacon, ing consensus WNPA President on the board that we have to stop playing defense, stop being primarily reactive, and start being proactive. At our annual convention board meeting Oct. 6 in Everett, the agenda will include a proposal to form a committee whose

marching orders will be to focus on WNPA’s future. What will tomorrow’s organization look like? Will it remain strictly a newspaper association? Or will it open its doors to alternative publications, such as e-publications and other mobile and web-based media? How about the Washington News Media Association? When newspaper companies themselves are putting up increasingly sophisticated websites that include audio and video, more consumer/reader interaction, links to social media and other information sources – bells and whistles that were unknown just a moment ago – how do those game-changing advances and realignments affect the WNPA’s core mission? That committee will be asked

to answer those kinds of questions, and more. As the WNPA’s outgoing president, and an admitted oldschool, green eyeshade kind of guy, I nevertheless find the challenge stimulating as well as daunting. While I see continuing rough seas for our industry in the near term, I’m also encouraged that the ongoing realignment shows our readers continue to depend on us, their local newspapers, to better know and understand their community. I encourage anyone who wants to help fashion tomorrow’s WNPA to get involved. Committee meetings are open to every member. I trust, too, that whatever that future association looks like, it will maintain its core mission,

as stated on the WNPA website: “Washington Newspaper Publishers Association is an advocate for community newspapers, freedom of the press and open government. The association is dedicated to helping members advance editorial excellence, financial viability, professional development, and a high standard of publication quality and community leadership.” If we continue to work on those goals, our future will be bright. It has been a pleasure serving the WNPA as your president over the past two years. I look forward to continuing my involvement and urge you to do the same. I hope to see many of you in Everett!

Rx for openness: Restore access to doctor data


The News Tribune, Tacoma

Officers: President: Paul Archipley, Edmonds Beacon, Mukilteo Beacon l First Vice President: Jana Stoner, Northern Kittitas County Tribune, Cle Elum l Second Vice President: Bill Forhan, NCW Media, Leavenworth l Past President: Sue Ellen Riesau, Sequim Gazette, Forks Forum l Secretary: Bill Will, WNPA, Seattle Trustees: Desiree Cahoon, Lake Stevens Journal l Mike Dillon, Pacific Publishing Co., Seattle l Donna Etchey, North Kitsap Herald, Poulsbo l Keven Graves, Nisqually Valley News, Yelm l John Knowlton, Green River Community College, Auburn l Lori Maxim, Sound Publishing l Stephen McFadden, Ritzville-Adams County Journal Staff: Executive Director: Bill Will l Editor/Manager of Member Services: Mae Waldron

Officers: President: W. Stacey Cowles, The Spokesman-Review l Vice President: Mike Shepard, Seattle Times Company Board: Rufus Friday, Tri-City Herald l Jill Mackie, The Seattle Times l Dennis Waller, Chronicle, Centralia Executive Director: Rowland Thompson THE WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER is the official publication of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association. It is published monthly by WNPA, 12354 30th Ave NE, Seattle WA 98125, phone (206) 6343838. Email:; URL:, in conjunction with Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington, P.O. Box 29, Olympia, WA 98507, (360) 943-9960. Email:

ournalists, consumer groups and patient rights advocates trying to expose dangerous doctors for years have had a useful tool at their disposal – the National Practitioner Data Bank. But that tool was yanked away recently when the Obama administration decided to bar public access to the information stored in the data bank. That decision was an overreaction to the Kansas City Star’s use of the data bank to report on the failure of the Kansas or Missouri medical boards to discipline doctors with long histories of malpractice allegations. And it’s a direct contradiction to the administration’s objective of increased transparency in health care as a way of fighting spiraling costs.

The National Practitioner Data Bank is an online database that compiles physicians’ disciplinary and malpractice records. While the doctors aren’t named, the records are valuable tools for anyone trying to track trends in how well individual states discipline problem practitioners. And it’s sometimes possible for journalists to put two and two together and figure out – from their own, independent reporting – which doctor is being described in a data bank file. The public has an interest in access to such records because too often, problem practitioners are able to keep treating patients when perhaps they shouldn’t be. Although almost every doctor will be sued for malpractice at some point in his or her career, most will never face more than one lawsuit, according to the American

Medical Association. Fewer than 2 percent of doctors account for half the malpractice claim payouts. It’s the victims of those 2 percent who are of interest to journalists and patient advocates, and the National Practitioners Data Bank has been helpful in telling their stories. With health care reform, Americans will need more information – not less – about practitioners so that they can make informed decisions. The Department of Health and Human Services has even proposed giving the public access to ratings of health care providers. That doesn’t square up with cutting the public off from an important source of online information about physicians who have faced disciplinary and legal action. That access should be restored. Reprinted with permission.

Two public servants face the end of an era


The Olympian

t’s just not going to be the same around the Capitol Campus next year when Secretary of State Sam Reed and State Auditor Brian Sonntag retire after stellar careers as public servants. Both Reed and Sonntag, who had experience in county courthouses before stepping up to state service, have announced that they will not seek re-election in 2012. The announcements are a bit of a surprise because both men still have their health and have been vigorous and engaged political leaders. They’ve earned a restful and rewarding retirement where they can spend time with family members and spoil their grandchildren. Reed, who turned 70 last January, leaves behind a legacy of fairness, impartiality and civility. There were times when Reed, the state’s chief elections officer, had a bigger target on his back from his fellow Republicans than opposition Democrats. Thurston County residents know Reed well. He served six terms as county auditor before leaving the bluff overlooking Capitol Lake for an office under the Legislative dome on the Capitol Campus. Reed cut his political teeth with a group of like-minded moderate Republicans such as former Gov. Dan Evans, former Secretary of State Ralph Munro and former Lt. Gov. Joel Pritchard. They were often at odds with the conservative members of the GOP. At every turn, Reed has been a pioneer. Whether it was paving the way for local voter pamphlets at Thurston County or leading this state to all-mail elections, Reed has been an innovator. He was unafraid to go toe-to-toe with powerful political party leaders – both Democrat and Republican. That trait was no better exemplified than his battle all the

way to the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of Washington’s so-called “top two” primary in which the top two vote getters in the primary election advance to the November general election, regardless of political party. It’s an electoral system the voters love, but the party hacks hate. Reed sided with voters and prevailed at the highest court in the land. That’s not to say it was always smooth sledding for Reed as secretary of state. The 2004 gubernatorial election, the closest in state history, proved to be a nightmare. The extremely tight race between Republican Dino Rossi and Democrat Chris Gregoire exposed a number of flaws – mostly human errors – in the electoral process and how ballots are tallied. It was the catalyst for multiple statewide election reforms and the switch from punch-card to optical scan ballots in this county. Reed insisted on following the law, and after multiple ballot counts, his results were certified as correct by a Superior Court judge. That decision ended the ballot counting, but not the ballot tabulation controversy. Impartiality and fairness have been hallmarks of Reed’s tenure along with a dedication to improvements in the electoral system and advocacy on behalf of voters. Sam Reed has not sought out the spotlight. He’s been a subdued public servant, quietly working behind the scenes but always putting the public first. The same thing can be said of Sonntag, who will turn 60 before his retirement date. He will have served five terms – 20 years – as state auditor following two terms as Pierce County auditor and two terms as Pierce County clerk. Again, it’s been a long, stellar career of public service.

Citizens who want to pry open the doors of a too-secret government and residents who want to force public officials to turn over public documents have no greater friend in Washington state than Brian Sonntag. On the challenging issues of open public meetings and open public records, Sonntag has been an outspoken advocate for openness, transparency and accountability. For years and years – way ahead of the other politicians in this state – Sonntag lobbied for authority to do performance audits. His office has done a terrific job on financial audits for state agencies, county and city government, school districts and other government entities. The auditors have rooted out fraud and dollars misspent, and reported their findings back to the public in reports that can be easily read and understood. The challenge has been getting performance audit authority – where auditors look at how the money is being spent and whether there are ways to do it cheaper and with more efficiency. Sonntag pushed and pushed and finally got a bill passed by the Legislature, only to have former Gov. Gary Locke veto it. Sonntag then threw his support behind a citizens’ initiative that brought performance audits to this state in 2005. It was a huge victory for Sonntag and for the citizens of this state. Sonntag, like Reed, is going out while on top. They still have 15 months remaining in their terms, and we’re convinced they will work hard and earn additional praise. The citizens of this state owe both men an enormous amount of gratitude for their honest and trustworthy stewardship of their cherished public offices. They have served with distinction and honor. Reprinted with permission.

October 2011 3

The Washington Newspaper


E-mails stir controversy at murder trial


South Whidbey Record, Langley

he attorney defending accused killer James “Jim” Huden is asking a Superior Court judge to order Island County Prosecutor Greg Banks to hand over internal emails in which Banks bickered with the county sheriff over what Banks called a flawed investigation into the 2003 murder of Russel Douglas. Detectives claim Huden shot Douglas in the head as he sat is his car at a remote Freeland property, waiting to pick up a Christmas gift for his wife. Earlier this month, the Record reported that local authorities have been looking at three suspects in the case — Huden and his mistress, Peggy Sue Thomas, and Brenna Douglas, the wife of the murder victim — and the newspaper published details of emails where Banks and thensheriff Mike Hawley fought over the timing of an arrest warrant for Huden that would bring the fugitive into custody. During a hearing Sept. 19 in Island County Superior Court, Peter Simpson, Huden’s attorney, said he should be given copies of the emails that the newspaper had obtained. “They may be pertinent to the defense,” Simpson told Judge Alan Hancock. Banks, however, noted that the emails — which were traded between Banks and Hawley in early 2005, following the initial completion of the murder investigation — were confidential emails between an attorney and his client. Banks said one email was “apparently improperly and probably unlawfully released to the South Whidbey Record,” and discounted the veracity of the email’s contents. “There’s nothing factual in it,” Banks said. Hancock declined to make an immediate decision on the emails, and asked the attorneys to prepare for a hearing on the request. “I’m going to need some briefing on that issue, before making a decision,” Hancock said. The judge did, though, grant Huden’s attorney additional time to review the details of the case. Simpson had asked for a delay to the start of Huden’s firstdegree murder trial, “given the nature of this case and the voluminous discovery.” He also said Huden was willing to waive his right to a speedy trial. “It seems like, the more we look at it, the more we find that we have to look into it deeper,” Simpson said of the case. The trial had been expected to begin Nov. 29. It is now scheduled to start March 13, 2012. Huden is currently in Island County jail on $10 million bail. Thomas was released on bail early last month after posting two properties in Langley and Nevada as security on $500,000 bail. In an earlier interview with the See RECORD, page 4

Seattle Police open misconduct files New policy puts closed probes on public view


The Seattle Times

esponding to a state Supreme Court decision, the Seattle Police Department will no longer withhold internal-investigation files from the public when an officer has been cleared of misconduct. Names of officers who are subjects of internal investigations or witnesses will be redacted from the records as allowed under the court decision, but the bulk of the records will be disclosed in response to public-disclosure requests, subject to limited redactions.

The department’s new policy was disclosed in a Sept. 16 declaration by Assistant Chief Dick Reed in a separate court case involving a dispute over the release of police documents. The Supreme Court, in a landmark decision on Aug. 18, ruled that police officers could not invoke privacy grounds to block the release of investigative reports about their conduct, even if the accusations are not upheld. In a case involving a Bainbridge Island police officer cleared of sexual misconduct, the court found that the public has a “legitimate interest” in knowing how the allegations were investigated. Seattle police for years have used a privacy exemption, as well an exemption involving effective law enforcement, to

deny public access to virtually all records when the department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) has cleared officers of misconduct. Reed, in his declaration, said the department remains concerned that the disclosure of OPA files where there is no finding of misconduct will have “harmful effects.” He cited increased reluctance of officers to participate in internal investigations; more stress on officers under investigation; damage to recruiting and retention of officers; loss of trust in officers; and the avoidance of proactive police work. “Nonetheless, SPD acknowledges and respects the recent and significant changes to the current state of the law as set forth in the Bainbridge Island decision,” Reed wrote.

Under a “heightened” scrutiny standard, the department will now individually examine OPA files to see if any documents or portions of them should be withheld as essential to effective law enforcement, Reed wrote. Reed said the department believes its past policy was consistent with the law before the decision in the Bainbridge Island case. But the department plans to send a form letter to people who during a one-year period before the Bainbridge decision were denied requests for OPA records where officers were cleared of misconduct, Reed wrote. They will be given an opportunity to resubmit their requests.

that required greater public access to investigative reports involving police officers. While the department’s action relates only to the case of antique dealer Turner Helton, it could affect the department’s longstanding policy of withholding internal-investigation records when officers are cleared of misconduct. Police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said that the department, after consulting with the City Attorney’s Office, decided that in Helton’s case, it

was appropriate to release the records based on “totality of the circumstances,” including the Supreme Court ruling. The U.S. Justice Department is currently investigating allegations that Seattle officers have regularly used excessive force. Helton sought records relating to a Nov. 3, 2009, incident at his business in the Pacific Galleries Antique Mall in the Sodo District. Seattle police and Helton offer differing versions of what occurred.

According to one of Helton’s attorneys, Patrick Preston, Helton had called his healthinsurance company that day to complain about its refusal to pay for a prescription.

Department drops effort to shield report


The Seattle Times

n a major reversal, the Seattle Police Department has dropped a court fight to keep a 72-year-old antique dealer from examining records of an internal investigation that cleared two officers of using excessive force on him during a confrontation at his business. The decision to release the records comes at a time when the department is conducting a broad review of its publicdisclosure policies after a landmark Aug. 18 state Supreme Court ruling in a different case

RCFP backs state’s anti-SLAPP statute


Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

he Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle (9th Circuit) urging it to uphold the constitutionality of Washington state’s anti-SLAPP law. Anti-SLAPP laws, which have been enacted in 28 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territory of Guam, were designed to ensure that so-called Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation do not chill speech or financially cripple speakers by, essentially, suing them into silence. Seattle firefighter Steven K. Castello sued two of his co-workers for defamation and other claims after they accused him of threatening and violent behavior at work. The two firefighters also appeared on local television talking about low morale in the Seattle Fire Department. The District Court dismissed Castello v. City of Seattle under the anti-SLAPP law, ruling that the other firefighters’ speech was covered under the statute and that Castello was unlikely to prevail against them. He is appealing that decision, arguing that the law is unconstitutional. Anti-SLAPP laws “are not tools to deprive plaintiffs of redress of their legally protected injuries, and [the Reporters Committee] does not claim that the legislative measure can or should be used to deny, for example, the subject of a false, defamatory and non-privileged report his day in court,” the brief argued. “Rather, the laws are designed to help alleviate a dangerous chilling effect on vital public speech by expeditiously terminating unfounded claims that threaten constitutional speech rights – claims, simply put, that should have never been brought in the first See SLAPP, page 4

See SEATTLE, page 4

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4 October 2011


The Washington Newspaper


from page 3

Helton made some kind of offhand comment that if he wasn’t given the prescription to live, he “might as well die now,” Preston said. After asking to talk to a supervisor and being placed on hold for several minutes, Helton hung up, according to court documents filed by Helton’s attorneys in a lawsuit to obtain the internal-investigation records. The insurer called Seattle police and reported that Helton was suicidal, prompting police to respond to his business, Preston said. Helton, who was working on his hands and knees with a paintbrush when three officers arrived, was accused of “making phone calls,” the court documents say. Helton related that he had called his insurer and referred the officers to paperwork on his desk, which they did not examine, according to the documents. Without further explanation, one officer ordered Helton to put his hands on a table, then kicked his legs apart and frisked him, the documents say. When Helton yelled for help to anyone within earshot, the officers forced him against a back wall, held his arms behind his back and bent his thumbs until he thought they would break, according to the documents. One officer knocked Helton’s head repeatedly against the wall, causing him to briefly lose consciousness and suffer abrasions before he was handcuffed, the documents say. Officers summoned medics and a private ambulance, which took Helton to Harborview Medical Center for medical treatment and a psychiatric evaluation. After a brief consultation, hospital staff found no reason to detain Helton, and he left the hospital, according to the court records.

Seattle police, in an incident report with Helton’s name blacked out, said he was “extremely agitated” when officers arrived. He became enraged and demanded the officers leave when they informed him of the concern that he was going to kill himself, the report said. Helton didn’t respond to “multiple demands for him to calm down” and made “repetitive, quick movements” when told to stay still for safety reasons, the report said. Helton was restrained and put in handcuffs when he physically resisted officers, according to the report. While being handcuffed, Helton screamed “kill me, kill me!” and began slamming his head in to the wall, the report said. Police later determined that in the dispute over the prescription matter, Helton reportedly said, “What am I supposed to do, kill myself?” according to the report. Helton was referred for a mental evaluation because his words and actions indicated he posed a danger to himself, the report said. Helton wasn’t charged with a crime, and he filed a complaint about the officers’ conduct with the department. In a June 2010 letter, the department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) informed Helton that it had found no misconduct on the part of two officers whose actions were at issue. Helton filed a public records request with the Police Department six days later, seeking detailed records relating to the internal probe. The next month, the department denied release of most of the file, saying disclosure would violate officers’ privacy and hinder effective law enforcement.

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The hindering argument stems from the department’s longstanding contention that witnesses and complainants won’t come forward if such records are made public. Helton sued to get the records in June, alleging violations of the state Public Records Act. The suit also asked for attorney fees and penalties of up to the statutory maximum of $100 per day for withholding the records. The Police Department fought the request, but in an Aug. 5 court hearing, a Seattle police captain conceded that releasing certain documents would not harm effective law enforcement, said Mike McKay, a Seattle attorney whose firm is representing Helton. Before the privacy issue could be argued, the state Supreme Court handed down its Aug. 18 decision, ruling that police could not invoke privacy to block the release of investigative records — even when an officer had been cleared of wrongdoing. The court said the name of the officer could be redacted, but that the public has a “legitimate interest” in knowing how the allegations were investigated. The Police Department dropped its opposition and on Aug. 30, McKay said, the city provided all the records sought by Helton. “They’re simply doing what they should have done in June of last year,” McKay said, adding that Helton will now seek financial penalties and attorney fees. Retired newspaper publisher Frank Garred of Port Townsend proposed language that would ensure that settlement information from such public entities would not be exempt.

from page 3

place.” “The majority of anti-SLAPP laws strike a balance between protecting people’s right to file a bona fide legal claim and speakers from lawsuits that would suffocate their speech under the weight of a lawsuit,” said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy A. Dalglish. “The Washington anti-SLAPP law did not infringe Castello’s constitutional right to file a lawsuit. Because he could not show that he was likely to prevail in court — the legal standard under the Washington anti-SLAPP legislation — the law kicked in to ensure that public speech was not chilled by the cost of defending an unfounded claim.”


from page 3

Record, Banks downplayed the discord apparent in the 2005 emails, and praised the work of the sheriff’s office on the case. The emails showed the sheriff at odds with the prosecutor over delays in issuing an arrest warrant for Huden, which the sheriff claimed was “sucking the momentum out of the investigation.” At the time, police had already retrieved the murder weapon, a Bersa .380 pistol registered to Huden, and had talked to a friend of Huden’s in Florida who said Huden had admitted killing Russel Douglas. Banks responded with an email to then-sheriff Hawley that was highly critical of the murder investigation, and stressed that the murder case was still his “top priority.” “The issues with the investigation are that (1) the investigation has so many flaws, it seriously undermines our ability to prosecute; and (2) the last information I had reviewed was tailor-made for a defense of ‘someone else did it,’ and (3) we suspect that there were two other participants in the crime, and moving prematurely on Huden would likely foreclose their prosecution. I would like to make sure that we have a solid case before we bring him into court,” Banks wrote in the Jan. 13, 2005 email. “Mike,” Banks concluded in his email to the sheriff, “don’t forget, we are on the same team. Merely making an arrest is not the goal of our criminal justice system. A sustainable conviction is.”


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October 2011 5

The Washington Newspaper

Judge withholds misconduct reports


The Seattle Times

King County Superior Court Judge declined last month to allow the city of Seattle to release its investigation into the Aging and Disability Services Division’s handling of fraud allegations, despite what he said was a “strongly-worded mandate” in state law to disclose public records. Judge Bruce Heller said the investigation report contained allegations of employee misconduct and was of legitimate public interest, but he agreed to delay the report’s release pending an appeal by the two employees named in it. The city of Seattle argues the report should be released. The employees don’t want it released, and Heller was ruling on their effort to keep the document out of the public eye. The Seattle Times has requested the investigation report under the state Public Records Act. In May, the city Human Services Department placed on administrative leave the division director, Pam Piering,

and suspended payments to the Kinship Care program run by Senior Services, a nonprofit social-services agency with $4.2 million in city contracts. The city hired an independent investigator to look into why the division didn’t respond more aggressively to a whistle-blower complaint in November that a Senior Services employee had misappropriated contract funds. Senior Services identified $89,000 in questionable payments and fired the employee in March. A criminal investigation is ongoing. As a result of the city investigation, several employees were recommended for discipline. Piering retired in July. A contracts manager in the division was recommended for termination. The manager challenged the report’s release, saying the investigation was flawed and the allegations in it would jeopardize her future employment. A second division employee facing discipline joined her

lawsuit to prevent the report’s release. According to legal briefs filed in the case, the contracts manager said she had no complicity in the alleged fraud. She said she had not been advised of the city investigation or allowed to adequately prepare for it, according to the documents. In court, her attorney, Judith Lonnquist, argued further that the city was using the threat of publicity to coerce employees into accepting the recommended discipline. Mary Perry, an assistant city attorney, said the Public Records Act doesn’t have a privacy exemption, except for personal identifying information such as Social Security numbers or addresses. She said the records act compels the release of substantiated findings of misconduct by public employees. Further, she said, the act doesn’t contain an exemption that would allow a court to withhold a document in its entirety.

Ritzville adds online paywall


he website of the RitzvilleAdams County Journal became a subscriptionbased site effective Sept.1. Current print subscribers have free access, and all site visitors can see lead stories’ top two graphs as well as headlines of other news. Online and print subscriptions cost the same. McFadden automatically starts a print subscription for anyone who pays for an online subscription. That helps build circulation for advertisers, few of which advertise on the Journal’s website. “We were putting 100 percent


Ritzville-Adams County Journal: of our content on the website, and our print subscribers were paying for it and people who read it online got it for free,” said publisher Stephen McFadden. “A lot of people who subscribe are going there, and their friends and relatives from out of town were going there as well. “To host and staff it was becoming cost- prohibitive,” he said. The Journal uses Bulletlink. com for its subscription process.

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6 October 2011

The Washington Newspaper

Everett school board again censures pro-openess member


The Herald, Everett

our new policies proposed by the Everett School Board seek to address issues that led to the elected officials’ recent fight during an executive session. The five-member school board discussed on Sept. 13 the new policies during the same meeting in which they voted again to censure board member Jessica Olson. Board president Ed Petersen blames Olson for causing the Aug. 23 grabbing and shoving match, in which he, Olson and board member Kristie Dutton


tangled for a copy of a draft of the district superintendent’s performance evaluation. Olson and Dutton said they were scratched during the scuffle, and Olson also had bent and bloodied fingernails. Everett police were called and their investigation left it to the city prosecutor to decide whether disorderly conduct charges should be filed against those involved. Olson has been at odds with the other board members, in large part over transparency issues, since her election in November 2009.

The policies being proposed are: • A ban on audio or video recordings of executive sessions. • A board vote before waiving confidential or privileged communication between the school district’s attorney and board members. Any action by a board member to unilaterally release the information would be considered an ethics violation. • Requiring a second to any board member’s request to remove an item from the consent agenda to allow for further information and debate. If someone seconds the motion,

the board member seeking the change would then have the opportunity to briefly discuss the reason for the change. The topic would be voted on at the same meeting. • Dividing school board agenda items into sections: information, discussion, action, procedural and recognition.  During the public part of the Aug. 23 meeting, board members denounced Olson for releasing to The Herald a fivepage legal opinion, from the district’s attorney, regarding Olson’s practice of videotaping school board meetings and the

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Over 50,000 circ.: Oregonian, Bryan Denson: “Behind the Portland Bomb Plot” Oregonian, Joseph Rose: “A Quiet Town is Mangled in the Grip of a Twister” n Enterprise Reporting Under 50,000 circ.: Lewiston (Ida.) Tribune. William L. Spence, Brad W. Gary, Kerri Sandaine, Kevin Gaboury, and Kathy Hedberg: “Thy Brother’s Keeper” Columbian, Vancouver. Laura McVicker: “A Life Interrupted” Over 50,000 circ.: Seattle Times. Ken Armstrong and Jonathan Martin: “The Other Side of Mercy” Oregonian. Bryan Denson: “Like Father, Like Spy” n Feature Writing

Under 50,000 circ.: Anchorage (AK) Daily News. Julia O’Malley: “Hooked: One Addict’s Story” Daily Herald, Everett. Debra Smith: “A Long-Lost Voice” Over 50,000 circ.: Oregonian. Nikole Hannah-Jones: “Can $100 Change a Life?” Seattle Times. Maureen O’Hagan: “The Fight of Her Life” n Investigative Reporting Under 50,000 circ.: Herald and News Staff, Klamath Falls: “Chronicles: Water and Drought” Daily Herald, Everett. Debra Smith: “Spent: Years of Overspending” Over 50,000 circ.: Seattle Times. Michael J. Berens: “Seniors for Sale” The News Tribune, Tacoma. Sean

Robinson: “Dale Washam” n Debby Lowman Award for Distinguished Reporting of Consumer Affairs Seattle Times. Christine Willmsen: “Lender of Last Resort: I am a Wolf” Tri-City Herald, Kennewick. Michelle Dupler: “Pasco Day Care’s Actions Anger Parents” PNNA daily newspaper members in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Alberta and British Columbia are eligible to enter the contest, which is administered completely independent from the Seattle Times by PNNA. The awards were established in 1977 in honor of C.B. Blethen, publisher of the Seattle Times for 26 years, from 1915 to 1941. The Consumer Affairs award honors Debby Lowman, a Seattle Times consumer reporter who died of cancer in 1978.

taping of one meeting she had with a school district employee, and board member Carol Andrews. The board had been scheduled to decide whether to release the document, but Olson’s action made their vote moot. During that evening’s executive session, Olson was videotaping as she demanded to know why the parameters used to evaluate Superintendent Gary Cohn would not be discussed in open session. She also wanted to include a minority opinion of Cohn’s performance in the draft evaluation.

PNNA also confers Connelly Award


lso during the PNNA meeting, two newspapers received Dolly Connelly awards for their coverage of the environment. The Daily Astorian received first place for a four-part series, “The Fate of Our Forests,” produced in cooperation with the East Oregonian and five sister weeklies. The newspapers are owned by the East Oregonian Publishing Co., Pendleton, Ore. The News Tribune of Tacoma received the second place award for “Rainier in Transit,” a series by Jeffrey P. Mayor on the threat to major roadways at Mount Rainier National Park posed by receding glaciers.

Press Forward We applaud the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s commitment to advocating for community newspapers, freedom of the press and open government. We are honored to continue serving as a resource in these valuable efforts.


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October 2011 7

The Washington Newspaper

Common ground: A lack of speed kills T

alk about different situations. Last week, I spent two days in the city that never sleeps, visiting with a staff that produces large weeklies, shoppers and more. This week, I’m in a Southern town, working with the staff of a small daily paper for two days. You’d think the situations couldn’t be more different. Last week in New York, the pace was incredibly hectic. Staff moved at a frantic pace, working to get the next assignment done. No time to visit. No time to waste. People yelled. Supervisors barked orders. It was the classic big city situation. My first task upon arriving at the Southern paper was to sit around a conference table with an editor, ad director and two other managers and discuss what was happening at their paper and what we hoped to accomplish while I’m here. No hurry. No fuss. Just a relaxing conversation, with my Diet Kevin Mountain Dew in hand, Slimp that provided Director, Newspaper Intsitute most of the of Technology information I needed to understand my assignment. You would think the situations couldn’t be more different. In fact, these two newspapers hold much in common. While a little more than half of my time at both offices was spent training staff in software applications, the other half was spent analyzing the workflows and making recommendations concerning things that could be improved. The paper in New York was moving to the InCopy/InDesign workflow system. That required training in both applications. We also dealt with problem PDF files (yes, they were all created the wrong way) and held a session on creating animated Flash files for the paper’s

Robyn Gentile, Tennessee Press Association

Kevin Slimp works on computers at a client’s office in September. He says keeping equipment up to date is one of the easiest way to improve the bottom line at newspapers.

Slow Internet service is a killer for newspaper production staffs. Check your speed regularly using a free website like website. Here at the daily paper, we’ve focused our training on advanced InDesign, photo editing and correcting problem PDF files. It’s almost funny that so many of the PDF files we create and receive from others still cause so many printing problems. What I learned, however, was that these two papers hold more than PDF issues in common. Both papers have something in

the workflow that is slowing their production efforts to a snail’s pace at times. In New York, it was the Internet. Outfitted with new computers and software, the staff worked diligently to get out their products. The building had even been equipped with new network wiring recently. The problem wasn’t in the equipment or the wires. It was with the Internet speed itself. I visited with key managers

and explained that the workflow was being hampered significantly by the slow Internet. While I was there, phone calls were already being made to find a new provider who could provide faster service. I’m amazed at the number of newspapers I visit who are still working with DSL. Sure, it’s still the only thing available in some places, but in most areas much faster options are available. In Knoxville, where I live, cable Internet can be over 100 times as fast as DSL. That’s a difference that makes an impact on the bottom line. Cable Internet, when available, can also be more than 50 times as fast as a T1 line. If you’ve noticed that you have to wait on the Internet, it might be

a good time to see if you have a faster option available. And, fortunately, cable Internet is usually less expensive than T1. The group in New York was also looking into a vendor who could provide quality newspaper management software at an affordable price. I find it interesting that most papers I’ve visited in the past two years have been in search of new management software. There are many options at various price points. This is another area that can increase efficiency greatly. This week, at the small daily paper, I’m noticing a common thread. Speed is also hindering production efforts. It’s not slow Internet that’s causing delays and disruptions. It’s old computers and software. Nothing pains me more than to see a staff working to produce quality publications, on strict deadlines, with slow equipment. As I go from workstation to workstation and watch the staff, I can’t help but think that efficiency could easily increase by a third or more with new hardware and software. Publishers sometimes balk at the idea of having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on new computers and software. I balk at the idea of staff sitting around, through no fault of their own, waiting for the spinner to stop spinning in InDesign or for a file to open in Photoshop. The truth is that many newspapers could almost double their efficiency with new equipment. That’s hard to disregard. I love newspapers like these. Both are working hard to create quality publications for their communities. And both are reaching out for help in understanding what they can do increase both quality and efficiency. The newspapers in New York and the newspaper here in the South have bright futures. Ad revenue is coming in at a healthy pace. Great staffs are in place and efficiency is improving. Those are winning combinations.

Review makes return to downtown Winslow


he Bainbridge Island Review moved its offices back to downtown Winslow in mid-August, after four years in an industrial park on Day Road. The new office is in a second floor suite at 911 Hildebrand Lane. Though a few blocks from Winslow’s main street, the new office is in a building with plenty of parking. The staff is pleased to be back downtown where readers, advertisers and friends are finding it convenient to drop in for a visit. The Review moved to Day Road in 2007 when Sound Publishing’s headquarters were relocated to Poulsbo, vacating space at the company’s longtime Day Road press facility. That press facility was closed in December 2008, after Sound’s then-new Everett Press Facility was operational. With the Day Road space recently leased, the Review was free to return to downtown Winslow.

8 October 2011

The Washington Newspaper

E-mails prove commissioners flout open meetings law he wrote. Merrill said she wanted her motion to be clear, so she made it in writing. The Miner was forwarded the e-mail motion by county commissioner Diane Newport Miner Wear.  Hankey said that making end Oreille County commissioners frequently a motion by e-mail has only happened once. use e-mail to discuss He said that commissioners policy, financial and other do deliberate in open sessions.  county matters. Sometimes topics brought up in e-mail are “I don’t think that we have later discussed in open meeting, been against deliberating in sometimes not.  open,” he said.  That was one of the issues Most of the e-mails were that became apparent after routine but some were a review of hundreds of obviously commissioners e-mails the Miner received in deliberating. For instance, all response to a public records commissioners engaged in back request. The e-mails are those and forth e-mail conversations sent and received by county during the time period the commissioners John Hankey, Miner looked at.  Laura Merrill and Diane On Aug. 9, Wear responded Wear for July 18, 19, 25, 26, to an e-mail from county Aug. 1, 2, 8 and 9. Those are auditor Marianne Nichols Mondays and Tuesdays the asking for clarification on commissioners normally meet.  budget sheets. Wear also sent The Miner requested the her response to Hankey and e-mails after Merrill made a Merrill.  motion to consider a levy lid She wrote, in part, “... I have lift by e-mail Aug. 8. The next intentionally stayed outside the day, after the Miner was sent conversation regarding salary, the e-mail motion by another out of respect for the salary commissioner and protested, commission ...” Merrill repeated the motion in On Aug. 9, in an e-mail open session, where it died for to Wear and Merrill Hankey lack of a second. The e-mail wrote, “In September Sam motion did not appear in (Castro) has been here 1 year. minutes of the meeting nor was Do we need to (do) another it on the agenda.  reevaluation of him ...” Included among the items Also on Aug. 9, Merrill on which the commissioners apologized to Hankey and discussed by e-mail were: Wear by e-mail for any offense • The benefits of traveling a previous e-mail may have to lobby state and federal caused. She also wrote, in part, legislators,  that “... I do not believe that • Whether to distribute you can cut an elected salary travel expenses among several ...” funds,  Media attorney Michele Earl• The effect of a 2 and 3 Hubbard represents the Miner percent pay cut for all county and the Washington Newspaper employees,  including elected Publishers Association. She officials.  says that when a quorum of Many of the e-mails during the board, in this case two this time period are discussions commissioners, communicate with county department heads about something that will come and others, including the public.  before them, it is considered a Merrill’s motion to ask meeting.  voters for a levy lid lift drew There can be legitimate this e-mail response from meetings by e-mail, she says, commission chairman John but the public has to be given Hankey 17 minutes later. His the opportunity to observe, response was also not included in real time, what the elected in the minutes or mentioned in board is doing. The same is the meeting.  true of phone meetings. In “Does no one read the the case of e-mail meetings, newspaper or listen to the news this could be accomplished or talk to your friends and by letting the public log in to neighbors they do not want any the commissioners’ computer new taxes. They want us as system. For phone meetings their elected officials to make the public should be allowed the hard cuts that are needed. I to listen to a conference call don’t want to spend $5000 on where they could hear the something that will not pass,” discussion. 

Miner finds many instances during its investigation



“The whole point is to allow citizens to observe the whole process,” she said. “It is to let you understand why commissioners vote the way they do.” The public doesn’t get to directly have a part or direct what the elected body does during a meeting, she says, but they do have the right to observe the entire process.  How the elected body votes or doesn’t vote on various matters isn’t the only thing the public is entitled to know, she says. They are entitled to observe the elected body’s discussion and evaluation of matters that come before them.  She says there is little question the e-mail motion was improper.  “The motion itself is an illegal event,” she said. 

But secret meetings, including meetings within meetings, where commissioners communicate with each other electronically while they are apparently in an otherwise open meeting, are also violations of the state’s Open Public Meetings and Records acts, she said. Brian Enslow, a policy director with the Washington State Association of Counties, agrees that elected officials should follow the Open Meetings and Public Records acts. But passively receiving information, even if it is received by a quorum, isn’t a violation, he said.  Citing a 2008 Municipal Research and Services Center report, he said a board could passively receive information via e-mail, as long as discussion

doesn’t ensue electronically. He said that public records requests have taken up an increasing amount of governmental time. Public records requests take up more time than dealing with Growth Management Act issues, he said.  Earl-Hubbard has little patience for the argument that answering public records requests takes too much effort and resources. It is up to agencies to set up ways to respond. The laws have been around since the early 1970s, she said.  “All you have to do is follow the law,” she said, adding that producing public records are an important part of what governments do.  “It’s an essential part of democracy,” she said.

Proud to be the

for WNPA an


Helping you tell th • Seattle • Olympia

from page 1

degree at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. After graduation, she worked as a video editor in Los Angeles, but eventually shifted gears into management as a director at an advertising agency. Her husband’s job at the Boeing Co. brought her to the Seattle area, where she worked in classified sales at her local paper. She quickly advanced to outside sales where she excelled and won a number of WNPA awards. When she is not working, Southern enjoys spending time at home in Sammamish with her husband and two kids or

vacationing in the Caribbean. New sales manager Renée Walden joined Sound Publishing, Inc. in 2007 as the publisher of the Issaquah and Sammamish Reporter newspapers. She was a key player in both the Issaquah and Sammamish chambers of commerce and was asked to be on the Board of Directors for the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. Walden is a Western Washington native, residing in Seattle for the past 20 years. She and her husband of 18 years have two children.

OCT. 6-8


October 2011 9

The Washington Newspaper


Register now for investigative reporting call

WNPA hosts Mark Dowie on Oct. 28 teleconference


ollowing up on July’s teleconference with Seattle Times investigative reporter Steve Miletich, the WNPA Editorial Committee is taking on this vital topic again from a different angle. At 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 28 Mark Dowie, former editor & publisher of Mother Jones magazine, will present a teleconference, Investigative Reporting & Your Newspaper (Part II). Dowie, recently retired from the University of California Graduate School of Journalism, has written more than 200 investigative reports for magazines, newspapers and other publications, including the London Times, the New York Times, Utne Reader, the Nation, the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and many others. Author of seven books, he has also won an unprecedented four National Magazine Awards. In 1995 he was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters by John F. Kennedy University. His investigative stories include: • Pinto Madness, which for the first time reported the production history of the Ford Pinto and exposed its explosive gas tank; • The corporate history of the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device; • The War for the West, which explored American militias; • Conservation refugees: The eviction of indigenous peoples in the interest of conservation. Register for this free teleconference at by 4 p.m. Oct. 26. For more information, contact Mike Dillon,, or Bill Will at WNPA, (206) 634-3838 ext. 1.

Council honors state senator for his efforts


he Washington Coalition for Open Government presented its Key Award to state Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, last month in Olympia for his efforts to improve transparency in the Legislature. Honeyford, who has represented the 15th Legislative District Yakima region since 1995, has been a vocal critic of efforts by some in the legislative leadership to obscure the lawmaking process from the public, Sen. Jim the coalition said in a Honeyford news release. The coalition said Honeyford has spoken out against “holding public hearings on bills without adequate notice; holding hearings on bills before they receive their first reading on the floor; holding hearings on bills with the text of the bill not available to the public prior to the hearing; voting on bills in committee the same day as their hearing; and holding hearings on bills that aren’t on the committee agenda.” Honeyford was nominated for the award by coalition president Toby Nixon and board member Jason Mercier, director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center. The Washington Coalition for Open Government is an independent nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 2002 by people representing a broad spectrum of opinions with the common goal of strengthening the state’s open government laws and protecting the public’s access to government at all levels.

Damian Mulinix / Chinook Observer, Long Beach

Damian Mulinix of the Chinook Observer, Long Beach, took home second place in Circulation Group III’s Feature/Scenic Photograph Category (Black and White) in the 2010 Washington Better Newspaper Contest. This year’s winners will be announced Oct. 7 at the WNPA 124th annual convention in Everett.


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Following is the text of an e-mail interview with Christine Fossett, publisher of the Chronicle in Centralia: TWN: Was there any particular catalyst for this change, or is it a response to the overall change in revenue and the economy? CF: We made this change to satisfy three main topics. We know we need to press forward on our digital delivery as the younger generation’s desire to access news online increases. We know our readers have less time, and three large print editions and continual online updates fits that need. Readers can access online as they have time, and those wanting the print editions still get all the same news with more time to digest it at their leisure. Lastly, it was a financially positive decision for us. TWN: What cost reductions are the most beneficial? CF: Delivery is most substantial,

as we will continue to print the same number of actual pages, only delivered three times rather than six. TWN: How does this change staffing and scheduling? Will the online site be updated daily, and remain subscriber-only? CF: Staffing for most departments will remain constant. The circulation and press staff will shift schedules to fit the new delivery model. The online site will be updated as the stories are written and edited. Then we will hold the story for the next available print edition and yes, the site will remain subscriber only. TWN: Your letter to advertising partners indicates you’d already talked with many advertisers. When were those conversations initiated, and how? CF: We reached out to local advertisers on Tuesday morning

before the public announcement in the newspaper, and then contacted out-of-the area customers later in the week so they could begin planning and let us know of questions or concerns they had. TWN: Any other information you would like to add? CF: We have been very pleased with the response from our readers. Most have been upset because they love the paper and are disappointed that they will no longer receive it every day. We have three people who have purchased subscriptions because the three-days-a-week schedule works better for them than the six. And a number of print subscribers have activated their online account. We are running ads to help subscribers access their online account and we walk people through it over the phone if they have questions.

10 October 2011

The Washington Newspaper

CAREER MOVES n The new editor of the Review Independent in Toppenish, Stacy Swenson, has worked at newspapers in South Dakota most of her life. Once the owner of a small local newspaper, she has won awards for her writing, design and photography. Swenson made previous visits to the Yakima Valley to see her parents in the 1990s. A lifelong horse owner, she expects to continue her national-level participation in horse rescue work when she moves to the valley. She succeeds Chris Thorn, former editor of the Selah Independent and interim editor at the Review Independent. n Marcus R. Donner and Anthony Bolante have been named staff photographers at the Puget Sound Business Journal. They succeed Dan Schlatter, who moved to China after more than 11 years with the company. PBSJ has published images by both Donner and Bolante in past years. Bolante freelanced regularly for the newspaper in the late ‘90s, and Donner’s images

have appeared regularly in the newspaper and online over the past several years. Both photographers have a 20-year history in the business, including experience with The Associated Press, Reuters and Horvitz Newspapers in Kent and Bellevue. Most recently they worked together at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. n Peyton Whitely, who had a career as a reporter and editor at the Seattle Times, is filling in at the Kirkland Reporter for a reporter on leave. Whitely has lived in a 1909 house in downtown Kirkland for decades, initially as a commuter to the Times and now as a local journalist. n The Tri-City Herald promoted Kristina Lord to city editor in August. Lord had been assistant city editor since April 2004, after reporting for the Herald for five years. Her previous experience was as a reporter at the Prosser Record-Bulletin and Nisqually Valley News in Yelm. She serves on the board of the William O. Douglas chap-

ter of the Society of Professional Journalists. n Jillian Beaudry is the new managing editor of the Waitsburg Times. Since mid2009 Beaudry has been an editor and reporter for the Daily World in Aberdeen, where she covered small communities in the Grays Harbor area and designed pages. Previously she was a reporter for the Polk County Itemizer-Observer in Dallas, Ore. She is a 2008 graduate of Linfield College. Beaudry succeeds Dian McClurg, who left the newspaper in May. n The Herald in Everett hired two new staff and promoted another, all intended to handle the growing demands of digital media. Kate McCullough, in her new position of digital media manager, is helping advertisers use the Web while working with staff on advertising campaigns. A 12year Herald staffer, McCullough was promoted from classifieds manager. Cameron Fay, 27, has been hired into the new position

of digital marketing manager. She is coordinating marketing and social media efforts for advertising using print, online and the Herald’s Daily Deal. Previously she handled communications and public relations for the Snohomish County-Camano Association of Realtors. Karen Ziemer, 34, rejoined the newspaper in a real estate classifieds position. Most recently with Trader Media in Everett, Ziemer left the Herald two years ago to work at the Statesman-Journal in Salem, Ore. Previously she had worked for five years on the Herald’s private party and employment classifieds. n Cindy Esch is the newest account executive at the Liberty Lake Splash. Her career has been in the sales, travel and hospitality industries in the Spokane area. Esch joins fiveyear Splash veteran Janet Pier, doubling the newspaper’s ability to serve clients. She and her husband have lived in Liberty Lake for six years. n The Puyallup Herald has

a new editor, Brian McLean. This new role is in addition to McLean’s duties as editor of the Peninsula Gateway in Gig Harbor. McLean’s introductory column noted the increasing opportunity for a web-first, printsecond mentality at the Herald. Though some material posted on the web doesn’t make it to print, he wrote, the stories that are printed can be the best of the week’s reports. He encouraged readers to submit photos, stories and guest columns. n Philip L. Watness is the new editor of the Skamania County Pioneer in Stevenson. His newspaper experience includes work at the Olympian, where he was a sports reporter and special sections editor; at Peninsula Daily News, where he was bureau chief; and at the Port Townsend Leader, where he was assistant editor. For the past seven years, he has operated a delivery business for FedEx Home Delivery, working out of his home in Port Townsend. Watness succeeds Joanna Grammon.

Herald lets readers in on this mystery


six-chapter adventure story published this summer in the Bellingham Herald was the newspaper’s second foray into a serial fiction project, and the first involving public participation. “Mystery Lode” was written by six local writers recruited through the newspaper and vetted by Dean Kahn, a columnist and editor at the Herald. “I looked for people who showed an ability to paint a character and a scene with action or dialogue,” said Kahn, who reviewed the submitted writing samples. At a meeting over pizza, four of the six selected writers talked with Kahn about the process, timing, and what makes a good adventure story. Kahn made it clear the story would be set locally, with landmarks familiar to readers. The writers drew lots for chapters. As Kahn received each chapter, he edited and sent it on to the next writer, who had two weeks to finish. “This year, we got all chapters in, edited and done before we started running them in the paper,” Kahn said. Last year’s project, “Unearthed,” involved secrets at Bellingham’s only cemetery and was published in the fall, ending on Halloween. It featured 1,000-word chapters by eight writers, all in-house, but not all reporters. With longer chapters and more writers, the last chapter was burdened with a lot of loose ends to tie up, and Kahn avoided that with this year’s story. “Mystery Lode” chapters were published on consecutive Mondays with a color portrait of the writer, taken by the Herald. The serial story appeared on the reader page, which often includes guest essays, photos, poems or other materials from readers, and is home to executive editor Julie Shirley’s weekly column. During the story’s six weeks, the page featured the chapter, a large-scale portrait of the week’s guest writer taken by the Herald, Kahn’s summary of the story thus far, and Shirley’s column. Kahn plans to do another serial project in 2012. Shirley recommended it to him after seeing a community contributed serial story in another newspaper.

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TWN1011 - The Washington Newspaper October 2011  

Monthly newsletter of Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington and Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, Oct. 2011

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