THE WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER Vol. 98, No. 12 December 2013
Journal of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington • www.wnpa.com
Herald finds a new home Call for March relocation expected for daily
lans are under way for the Herald in Everett to move from its California Street building, the newspaper’s home since 1959, to the Frontier Building. “After an exhaustive search we have secured a long-term lease in the Frontier Building on 41st Street in Everett,” Publisher Josh O’Connor told company employees in an email. “This building is a class A business office that offers robust
telecom connectivity and redundant emergency power systems, an open floor plan, lots of meeting space, ample Josh parking, and O’Connor great access and visibility for the Herald,” he continued. The entire company will be in an open-plan configuration on the third floor of the south tower.
That includes the Herald’s newsroom, advertising and business offices, as well as the Herald Business Journal, LaRaza de Noroeste, and technical and operational departments. Staff will find it is quite a change compared to the current facility, which Executive Editor Neal Pattison described as “three co-joined structures, part barn, part factory and part office space...riddled with nooks and storage areas and crisscrossed with passageways.” The Herald’s new home was constructed in 1981 for GTE when the company was the
primary telephone provider in Everett. It was sold in November 2011 to 1800 41st Street LLC, a Delaware corporation registered in Washington, and has been vacant since then. Since O’Connor made the announcement in July, plans for the 1.5-mile move are closer to being confirmed, and a March move is expected. The Washington Post Co. sold the Herald to Sound Publishing early this year and retained ownership of the Herald’s building, which is expected to be listed for sale next summer.
DARKNESS AND LIGHT
Marcy Stamper/Methow Valley News, Twisp
‘Great spot news shot that takes technical knowledge to capture as you have. Poignantly aids in telling your story,’ the judges wrote. For her image of a vigil by community members after the December 2012 school shootings in Connecticut, Marcy Stamper of the Methow Valley News, Twisp, won first place in Spot News in Circulation Group II of the 2013 Washington Better Newspaper Contest.
Lawmaker seeks study of records law reforms
Complex issues require a culture of cooperation The Herald, Everett
eaders of local governments frustrated by the growing amount of time and tax dollars spent satisfying those with a voracious demand for public records shouldn’t count on help from the state anytime soon. A House member who sought changes in the public records law to fend off what are perceived as exorbitant requests
from those with questionable motives now says the state must gather more information on the magnitude of the problem. “I think what we ought to do is take a step back and get some data,” said Rep. Dean Takko, D-Longview, who drafted a bill earlier this year to make it easier for local governments to get a court order against filling some requests. Takko said he knows there are small cities, counties and special districts expending vast portions of their small budgets on requests that they feel are intended to harass employees rather than uncover wrongdoing.
“How big a problem is it? It’s pretty anecdotal,” he said. “You need to get some statistics.” Takko made his comments last month after hearing representatives of the Ruckelshaus Center suggest there may be other means beyond the courts to curb the appetite of requesters causing officials’ headaches. Agencies can move to put more public documents online and do a better job of managing records so it won’t take as long to compile them, said Chris Page, program director for the center, which is a joint venture of the University of Washington and Washington
State University. And by creating “a culture of cooperation,” local officials and requesters may be able to sit down together and collaboratively settle any disputes. “There’s no magic bullet,” Page said. “The issues are complex and important to people.” An alliance of government forces has spent the past few years battling for changes in the public records law. When Takko introduced his House Bill 1128 earlier this year, representatives of cities, counties, school districts and prosecuting attorneys testified about the challenges
See TAKKO, page 6
intern apps W
NPA publishers are invited to nominate an intern for the WNPA Foundation internship scholarship program, selecting a student or community member interested in a career in community journalism who they would like as an intern. Up to five $1,500 internship scholarships will be offered for summer 2014, an increase of $500 over recent years. Nominations are due (postmarked) to the Foundation by Feb. 7, 2014. Nominations should include a statement from the nominee about their interest in community journalism, up to five clips, and a letter from the newspaper outlining the goals for the intern and the newspaper and including the supervisor’s name and contact information. This internship is a 240-hour commitment and must be served at a WNPAmember newspaper. Host newspapers are reminded of these requirements: • Keeping in mind that the internship has an educational purpose, the host editor should preview assignments with the intern and carefully review stories after publication, especially in the opening weeks of the internship. • There should be at least one “job shadowing” opportunity for the intern, scheduled in the early days of the internship if possible. • Each week the editor should have a brief one-onone meeting devoted to the intern’s professional development. In addition, the board connects each intern and their host editor with a Foundation director who will check in with the intern at the midpoint of the internship. Both the intern and the editor are free to contact the director at other times. The board’s goal is to ensure that scholarship students and their host newspapers obtain a solid benefit. Mail nomination packets to the Foundation at 10115 Greenwood N. #172, Seattle WA 98133. Questions should be directed to Scott Wilson, Foundation president and publisher of the Port Townsend Leader, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 268-0000 or Mae Waldron, email@example.com, (206) 634-3838 ext. 2.
Sealing juvenile records: compassion gone awry The Herald, Everett
his will go down on your permanent record.” Eye roll. Once a severe threat uttered by parents and school principals, it morphed into an ironic punchline. But now there is a national movement to protect criminal offenders from discrimination in housing, hiring and education. And it advocates sealing up permanent records or taking other steps to make records less accessible. If employers or landlords or scholarship committees don’t know you have a criminal past,
Officers: President: Bill Forhan, NCW Media, Leavenworth l First Vice President: Keven Graves, Whidbey News Group, Coupeville l Second Vice President: Lori Maxim, Sound Publishing l Past President: Jana Stoner, Northern Kittitas County Tribune, Cle Elum l Secretary: Bill Will, WNPA, Seattle Trustees: Donna Etchey, Sound Publishing l Eric LaFontaine, Othello Outlook l Imbert Matthee, Waitsburg Times l Don Nelson, Methow Valley News, Twisp l Stephen McFadden, Ritzville-Adams County Journal l Fred Obee, Port Townsend Leader l Michael Wagar, Lafromboise Communications Staff: Executive Director: Bill Will l Editor/Manager of Member Services: Mae Waldron
Officers: President: Rob Blethen, Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Treasurer: Christine Fossett, Chronicle, Centralia Board: Nathan Alford, MoscowPullman Daily News l Tyler Miller, Daily Record, Ellensburg l Heather Hernandez, Skagit Valley Herald, Mount Vernon l Dave Zeeck, News Tribune, Tacoma 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) 634-3838. Email: mwaldron@ wnpa.com; URL: www.wnpa. com, in conjunction with Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington, P.O. Box 29, Olympia, WA 98507, (360) 943-9960. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
the reasoning goes, they can’t hold it against you unfairly. Largely, this is a reaction to the reach the Internet has given to agencies and businesses that perform background checks. In Washington state, the emphasis is on young offenders. A legislative proposal would require courts to automatically seal juvenile records for all but a handful of serious offenses. This bill was introduced last session and is expected to be considered again next year. Kids take stupid risks and make foolish judgments. Why should these things ruin their futures? ask civil libertarians
and youth advocates. This is a constructive and compassionate viewpoint — but it leaves us with a couple of problems. First, judges may be willing to accept auto thefts as relatively minor crimes. The rest of us (especially those whose cars were stolen) may disagree. So the proposed policies would be widely and negatively viewed as a doubling down on leniency. Second, automatic sealing would make the court system less accessible and less accountable to the people. Never mind that our state constitution guarantees the open administration of justice. The sealing
of juvenile records prevents “outsiders” — those of us who are not judges or prosecutors — from knowing if justice is being meted out equally, if the system is effectively rehabilitating kids, or if specific individuals in the system are doing their jobs well. Meanwhile, anointed like preReformation priests, “insiders” retain the sacred knowledge. They alone can look at the sealed files and assess the performance of their colleagues and peers. Unholy. Instead of weakening democracy by blocking public scrutiny, we should look for less drastic solutions.
Is the procedure for the appropriate sealing of files too cumbersome? Make it faster and simpler for individuals who are now constructive and lawabiding citizens to make these requests. Do employers or landlords use court records to discriminate? Let the Legislature amend civil rights statutes to outlaw this. Judges and representatives should realize that shuttering public records is no balm, no matter how serious the perceived ill. It hurts us more than it heals us. Reprinted with permission.
Against political bullies, we are all Ed Barnes
he Donald is at it again. No, not the East Coast bully with power. Our very own West Coast bully with power. Of course, we’re talking about state Sen. Don Benton. Or is that Clark County Environmental Services Director Don Benton? Either way, he’s a bully. His latest strong-arm tactic was to get one of his attorneys to send a threatening letter to a citizen who has been complaining about him. I’m not kidding! Quick background: Sen. Benton has been squeezing taxpayers forever to make sure he keeps living the good life. You know, free meals, free dry cleaning, the works. Then the $100,000 county environmental job comes open and Benton figures, what the heck, that job can’t be brain surgery. I’m in! Now let’s be honest here. Benton couldn’t tell the difference between emissions and Eggplant Parmesan. But … who cares about his qualifications? And changing the job description to “fit” Benton doesn’t work, either. That’s like saying you can change a brain surgeon’s job description to read, “must pick up garbage well” and presto, your friendly garbage man is now your brain surgeon. Certainly, qualifications didn’t matter to the M&M boys. Yes, that’s Commissioner David Madore and Commissioner Tom Mielke. So Benton says, “Hey, hire me!” and the M&M boys say, “Sure, why not.” No process, no vetting, no nuttin’. Just come on in the back door.
The odd man out, Commissioner Steve Stuart, calls “bullshit” (that’s not me saying it, it’s a direct quote from Stuart). But no matter, Lou Benton got the Brancaccio job. Editor, Now, this The Columbian, didn’t sit well Vancouver with lots of folks. So the M&M boys have gotten an earful from residents. And one such resident is Ed Barnes. Ed is a good guy. Actually, he’s a great guy. He’s a retired labor leader and even if you believe unions will lead to the destruction of the Earth as we know it, you’d like Ed. Lately, Ed has been banging on the M&M boys over the Benton hire, every chance he gets. And Benton says he’s had enough. So he hired an attorney to send Barnes a threatening letter. Benton will sue ya if you don’t shut up, Ed! Now, Benton should know that all is fair in love and politics. He should know. But Benton is pretty much clueless. You can tell this from a quote he gave us: “I believe I would win (in court) hands down. I’ve spoken to four attorneys on this and they all (agreed).” Huh? Don, could you give me the names of those four attorneys? I’d like to give them some good counsel. Because they’ve given you some bad counsel. Not only would you not win, you’d end up with Eggplant Parmesan on
Tony Curtis (left) and Kirk Douglas in the 1960 film “Spartacus.” your face. Benton seems to be relying on the idea that as an elected official, he has to put up with grief, but as a private citizen (county worker), he does not. But what Benton and his cadre of attorneys don’t get is, that’s not the way it works. You see, once Benton, the county worker, got involved in his hiring controversy, he became a public figure. So “elected official” isn’t the legal test. “Public figure” is the legal test. And he is now a public figure in his role as an environmental director. Capisci? (No need to send me a check for this counsel, Don. It’s on me!)
Of course, Benton the politician should know it was silly to threaten the voice of a citizen. It just resurfaces the entire hiring issue again. But he’s sort of clueless that way. (Did I already say that?) Worse for Benton and the M&M boys, there’s a county commission meeting at 6 tonight at the Public Service Center downtown. I urge folks to show
up! Give the commissioners an earful! There’s a great scene in the classic movie “Spartacus,” where Spartacus and many of his men were captured. They were told all would live if they would only point out Spartacus. As Spartacus was about to give himself up, one of his men stood and said, “I’m Spartacus!” Then another. And another. “I’m Spartacus!” They all rose. “I’m Spartacus!” they yelled together. Wouldn’t it be great if those at the county meeting all stood up and shouted, “I’m Ed Barnes!” Because in a way, we all are Ed Barnes. A little guy being pushed around by a few bullies. Sure, they all would be gaveled down, but it would be worth it. Yes, “I am Ed Barnes!” Reprinted with permission. Editor’s note: Brancaccio attended the county commissioners’ meeting and reports it was quite a spectacle, with people handing out “I am Ed Barnes!” stickers to the standing-roomonly crowd. Others in the community had urged people to attend the meeting as well.
NAA fighting to save advertising deduction Newspaper Association of America
he business deduction for advertising expenses is currently at risk in the U.S. House of Representatives. Despite the collective efforts by advertising interests to dissuade Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp from modifying the current tax treatment of advertising, we have heard that he will release draft tax reform legislation that will propose a 10-year amortization of advertising costs. Specifically, his proposal is
expected to allow businesses to deduct 50 percent of their advertising costs in the year the advertising expense is incurred and require a business to spread the remaining cost over 10 years. We can find no economic or policy reason for this proposed change. NAA also believes this proposal would increase the cost of advertising and force advertisers to reduce overall ad spending. We understand that this proposal is one of many that are in play in an effort to reduce the
corporate tax rate to 25 percent. While reducing the corporate tax rate is attractive, the economic damage from this proposal would outweigh the benefits of a reduced rate. NAA is encouraging member newspapers to call or write their member of Congress in the House of Representatives today and urge them to oppose this proposal. To locate your representative, go to www.house.gov/representatives/find/ and enter your zip code. The representative’s name
will come up with a link to his/ her website, allowing constituents to send e-mails. Phone calls into offices are also effective.
Key talking points
The House Committee on Ways and Means is expected to propose a tax on advertising by limiting the business deduction for advertising to 50 percent in the year the expense is incurred and spreading the remaining amount over 10 years. Advertising supports 20 million jobs or 15 percent of all jobs in See ADS, page 4
OPEN ACCESS & LEGAL ISSUES
New open-access ombudsman named
Former reporter has long history with AG, PDC The Herald, Everett
he top lawyer for the state agency overseeing political spending is leaving to become Washington’s legal adviser on public records and open meeting laws. Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Nov. 18 he’s tapped Nancy Krier to be his full-time open government assistant attorney general. She is currently the general counsel for the state Public Disclosure Commission. In her new job, Krier will be the go-to person for the public, media and government agencies on disputes involving the interpretation of and compliance
with state laws governing the release of public records and conduct of public meetings. “Nancy brings a wealth of experience and a passion for transparency in government,” Ferguson said in a statement. In 2005, former attorney general Rob McKenna created this ombudsman position then converted it to a part-time job in 2011 because of budget cuts. Ferguson announced in September he would restore it to full time. “Government is better served when the public is informed and able to engage in our democracy,” Ferguson said in a statement. “Government agencies better serve the people when they fully understand and follow open government laws.” Krier, 53, earned degrees in political science and journalism at the University
of North Dakota then attended the University of Washington School of Law. As an undergraduate, she said she worked as a reporter and managing editor of her college newspaper. She also said she interned for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. This new job allows her to marry her interests in law and assuring an open government for the public. “As a journalism major and former reporter, my history of supporting open government pre-dates my law practice,” Krier said in a statement. “I have both a historical perspective on the need for open government and a practical understanding of the current challenge that open government efforts present.” Krier said in an interview she wants to improve materials the state posts online and provides
public officials about the public records and open meeting laws. “I will be trying to push out information so people better understand what the laws are and have the tools to follow them,” she said. For Krier, the new job is a return to a former agency. She started working in the Attorney General’s Office in 1986. In 1999, she was assigned to be the commission’s lawyer. She has been the Public Disclosure Commission’s in-house general counsel since 2007. The ombudsman job has been vacant since August when Tim Ford departed to work for the state Senate Law and Justice Committee. Krier, an Olympia resident, will begin her $110,000-a-year job this month.
Washington House Democrats
t least one lawmaker is taking great exception to the Washington State Supreme Court’s recent “executive privilege” decision. In fact, state Rep. Gerry Pollet is researching the idea of a “rightto-know amendment” to the Washington State Constitution, guaranteeing access to public records from the governor’s office. The court’s decision grants the governor executive privilege to refuse to disclose material that Pollet maintains is the very principle of public information. Pollet calls the state high court’s executive-privilege decision “a potentially sweeping assault on the rights of citizens and the media to obtain the public records needed to make informed decisions and to conduct informed news-reporting.” The lawmaker explained that “we must establish protection in our constitution for this fundamental right of the public and press to know what our state government is doing – and who is influencing our governor. The amendment is aimed at preventing this wrongful use of executive privilege as a way to avoid disclosure of records. I believe such an amendment is vital to protecting democracy here in our state of Washington.” Pollet said the court’s decision — which, he noted, several justices called overly broad — exempts the governor’s office from many of the disclosure requirements in the state’s landmark Public Records Act of 2005. The lawmaker said the ruling would allow a governor to even claim that outside-lobbying communications are exempt from disclosure. The amendment that Pollet’s considering reflects strong statements from some of the supreme court justices concernSee POLLET, page 4
ayoral challenger Greg Wilder says he has filed a complaint against Coulee Dam Mayor Quincy Snow with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, contending that Snow used his office and town resources to support his own campaign efforts. Contacted for comment, Snow said he didn’t use town facilities for campaign purposes. Snow, Wilder charged, requested public records on Wilder from the city of La Center and made the request in his official capacity as mayor, using the town’s e-mail and telephone to try to find material that was detrimental to Wilder’s campaign. Wilder worked for the city of La Center and was dismissed at the end of a sixmonth probationary period in 2003. An e-mail record Wilder received from La Center indicates Snow asked in July why Wilder “was fired,” and noted that Wilder was running for mayor. Wilder contends that request was clearly political in nature. State law makes it illegal to use a public agency’s resources “for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office.”
In his PDC complaint, an email Wilder obtained from La Center, labeled “Exhibit A,” is a public records request from email@example.com, sent July 26, 2013, to Finance Director Suzanne Levis, stating: “I would like to get any and all records pertaining to Greg Wilder when he worked for La Center and also why he was fired. We are having trouble with him in our Town of Coulee Dam where he is now living. He is actually running for mayor. Thank you for any help you can give me.” It’s signed Quincy Snow, Mayor, Coulee Dam, WA. In response, La Center’s attorney stated that he had found “two bankers boxes and the hard drive from Mr. Wilder’s computer while he was employed by the city. Mr. Wilder served as public works director for approximately six months in 2002-2003 and was dismissed at the end of his 6-month probation period. We estimate there to be approximately 1000 pages of documents plus whatever material is on the hard drive.” A subsequent email to Snow from a La Center official indicates Snow rescinded his public records request Aug. 2. Wilder also charged that the town wasn’t forthcoming when he made requests for public records, including for emails sent asking about
asco residents will not be asked how they feel about their tax dollars being used for public records requests after the question failed to top the lists of a majority of council members. The city’s six councilmen in attendance had different ideas about what three questions should be on an upcoming community survey. In the end, the regional aquatic facility and ambulance service to the area in west Pasco known as the “doughnut
hole” made the cut, along with a last-minute addition about the Senior Center. Pasco sends out the National Citizens Survey every two years with standard questions about the availability and quality of municipal services. The survey also can address up to three policy issues. One question will cover the regional aquatic facility and the failed attempt in August to get Tri-City voters to approve a sales tax so it could be built in Pasco.
Residents will be asked if the Pasco Public Facility District should continue to work toward a large project to benefit the Tri-Cities, use its own resources to identify a small project for Pasco — like a scaled-down water park or performing arts center — or abandon efforts to consider future facilities. Another question covers ambulance service that is provided by the Pasco Fire Department, under contract with Franklin Fire District 3, to
See PASCO, page 4
See CLARK, page 4
Wilder. He cited instances when the response was: “There are no identifiable records responsive to this request.” Snow had a quick response when asked about the complaint. “I didn’t use town facilities, I called by phone,” Snow stated. “We aren’t going to give him anymore public disclosures, he’s got his limit. I have told the clerk not to give him any more, he’s just going nuts with it.” Wilder has filed many requests with the town for public records in the past couple years, most for information on a proposed sewer plant refurbishment he opposes. Oct. 25 he filed two more, regarding the town’s ownership of the “couleedam.org” Internet domain name, and telephone billing records in July and August. Editor’s note: Wilder won the mayoral race with an election-night count of 110 votes to Snow’s 54. Two challengers who supported Wilder also won council seats. Gayle Swagerty won over incumbent Karl Hjorten by a 99-46 margin; and Duane Johnson won over incumbent Andrew Trader, 113-36.
Pasco ducks question on records law Tri-City Herald, Kennewick
The Columbian, Vancouver
t a time when Clark County commissioners are considering how to put limitations on public comment topics, Clark County Environmental Services Director Don Benton is considering legal action against a person who has been prolific in speaking out against the hiring of Benton to his county role. Benton, also a Republican state senator, confirmed on Nov. 13 that he and an attorney had sent a letter to Ed Barnes asking him to cease making claims that Benton is not qualified for his job at the county. “I gave him the courtesy of putting him on notice that if he continues, then I will move forward with corrective action,” Benton said. “I believe I would win (in court) hands down. I’ve spoken to four attorneys on this and they’ve all (agreed.)” Barnes said he’s received the letter from Benton’s attorney and he isn’t concerned about it. “I’m not going to answer the letter,” Barnes said. “Let him sue me.” Benton said he takes no legal issue with statements made about him in his capacity as an elected official, but believes he has rights as a private citizen in his job with the county. “There are protections that allow people to lie about public figures, which is unfortunate, but those do not extend to private individuals,” Benton said. “To visit my employer once a week and tell my employer I am unqualified, over the public airwaves, is untrue and is libel.” Benton said Barnes is among the most “prolific” of the individuals who have spoken out against him since Commissioners David Madore and Tom Mielke, both Republicans, appointed Benton to the environmental job in May. In the aftermath of that hiring, dozens of individuals have criticized commissioners for their actions. The two commissioners have mostly accepted the critique, even as it grew personal, but attempted to stop speakers when they criticized Benton. The rationale has been that commenters should not critique county staff, a thought that Commissioner Steve Stuart, a Democrat, has agreed on. Barnes has commented on multiple occasions, saying he believes the hiring was illadvised, and has been critical of Benton’s qualifications. Further, Barnes said he’s not going to stop making comment about the hiring of Benton by the county. “I’m going to continue doing what a citizen has a right to do and let the chips fall where they may,” he said. Barnes, 80, is a retired leader of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48, based in Portland and encompassing Southwest Washington. He also is known as an engaged community volunteer. Barnes
PDC complaint in mayoral race Executive privilege M limit sought The Star, Grand Coulee
Clark County official may sue vocal critic
from page 2 the country. This proposal would make advertising more expensive, cause a decline in ad spending and cost jobs, since every $1 spent on advertising leads to $20 in economic activity. The Tax Code for 100 years has permitted businesses to deduct the full cost of their advertising just as it permits the deduction of other ordinary business costs like salaries, rent, utilities and office supplies. Some defenders of this proposal claim that advertisers would be “made whole” after 10 years, when the remaining amount of a company’s advertising costs would be made fully deductible. However, this does not take into account the lost value of that deduction over time. The proposal does not consider that companies buy new advertising each year and would feel the brunt of this tax annually. Not only would they have less money to spend on advertising year after year, but newspapers and other media companies that rely on advertising would be harmed as advertisers reduce ad buys.
from page 3 county residents in the doughnut hole. Those residents don’t pay the monthly ambulance utility fee of $6.25 that is required of Pasco residents, and the city wants to know should that charge be included in the contract since they’re getting the same service. And finally, Councilman Al Yenney suggested they ask citizens about the Senior Center on North Seventh Avenue and whether it should be re-purposed as a community center. The city puts about $250,000 toward the facility each year, yet it is under-utilized and needs to be maintained, he said. Some of his colleagues agreed that issue should be looked into and added it to the question list. Council members had been considering asking residents if there should be a restraint put in place to protect taxpayers from serial public records requesters. It wouldn’t have resulted in a change since the city must follow state law, but could have directed city officials to talk with legislators about protecting citizens’ wallets from being raided by people making “burdensome or harassing requests for huge volumes of nonspecific documents.”
from page 3 ing the decision. Several likened the decision to the so-called executive-privilege claim that was enormously contentious when former President Richard Nixon asserted it 40 years ago. Significantly, Gov. Jay Inslee has publicly stated that he will not be asserting executive privilege to exempt his records from disclosure if they are not otherwise exempt under the Public Records Act. Pollet is asking the governor to work with the Legislature in drafting the proposed amendment to the state constitution. Any amendment to the state constitution would require approval from Washington’s voters.
Senate’s ‘coalition’ adds one to its ranks The Olympian
new alignment in the Washington state Senate calls for some new
math. “The difference between 25 and 26 isn’t one,” Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom said Nov. 7. “It’s exponential.” Tom and his coalition that runs the Senate will welcome Republican Jan Angel as the group’s 26th member. Democrat Nathan Schlicher conceded the 26th District race Nov. 7 after Angel’s lead wid-
ened to 1,543 votes on the third day of counting ballots. Currently, one vote is all that keeps the majority in the hands of 23 Republicans plus Democrats Tom of Medina and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch. Losing a single member risks allowing Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, a Democrat, to step in to break a 24-to-24 tie. What’s more, when every member of the majority is needed, any of them can make demands. “When everybody thinks
they’re that 25th vote, well, they’ve got leverage,” Tom said. “It just makes it a lot more difficult.” The coalition has hung together during its first year in charge, though, with no public rifts. So the change may not be immediately evident. Tom said he thought he was likely to remain majority leader in the new configuration, though he said that was up to his colleagues. And regardless of the size of its majority, Democratic Floor
Leader David Frockt said the other side was able to control the flow of legislation because it had given its members such a “rock-solid majority” on the powerful Rules Committee. “They have control of the chamber,” said Frockt, of Seattle. And when Democrats have tried parliamentary maneuvers to advance legislation, he said, their rivals “stuck together as a caucus and did not break.”
Bellevue campaign donor misses disclosure date Realtors group admits mistake The Seattle Times
political arm of the National Association of Realtors inadvertently failed to make a legally required disclosure of the $36,200 it spent to help re-elect Bellevue City Councilmember Kevin Wallace, an attorney for the group said Nov. 7. “We just slipped on this one and didn’t get the report filed on time. It’s no more complicated than that,” said Ralph Holmen, associate general
counsel for the Chicago-based Realtors. Holmen made that admission after Bellevue resident Becky Lewis complained to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) that the National Association of Realtors Fund broke the law. “In an election that is this close, in which any amount of outside spending can make a critical impact, it’s disappointing that the National Association of Realtors did not follow our state PDC laws, hid how much was spent until after the election and did not respect our citizens’ right to know who spent large amounts on
the race,” Lewis, a Democratic Party activist, said in an email. Wallace, a real-estate developer, appears to have won a second term on the City Council, leading challenger Steve Kasner 51 to 49 percent as election officials continue counting votes. Lewis’ PDC complaint cited a Seattle Times blog entry that quoted PDC Compliance Director Phil Stutzman saying the Realtors Fund failed to electronically report its spending as required by Oct. 14, the first business day after its direct mail, phone calls and online ads were presented to voters.
The fund filed a paper report on Oct. 30. The electronic report was filed on Nov. 5, Election Day, after PDC staff became aware of the paper filing and contacted the organization, Stutzman said. Stutzman said the PDC would investigate if a complaint were filed. The Realtors Fund spent $76,400 on two city races, $36,200 in support of Wallace and $40,200 for Vancouver, Wash., Mayor Tim Leavitt. Wallace raised a near-record $138,938 for his campaign separate from the Realtors’ spending.
Bainbridge council emails ordered released Personal accounts alleged to be used for city business Kitsap Sun, Bremerton
hree Bainbridge City Council members have been ordered by a judge to hand over their personal computer hard drives to get access to personal emails. The lawmakers are Steve Bonkowski, Debbi Lester and David Ward. Kitsap Superior Court’s Nov. 1 decision followed a public records request for emails from May 1 to June 22 made by plaintiff Althea Paulson, who is a political blogger, and Bob Fortner, a self-proclaimed community watchdog. Their lawsuit
alleges council members failed to release emails from personal accounts that were allegedly used to conduct city business. “They’re still going to be held accountable and their personal emails — where they’ve done city business on personal emails — they’re going to have to turn those over,” Fortner said. “...They were all instructed to use only their city-provided email accounts for city business and none of them followed that rule exclusively.” Superior Court Judge Jeannette Dalton requested a conference with the parties in the case Nov. 22. “Government employees and public officials who conduct business on private computers cannot reasonably
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and his wife, Luanne, live near Truman Elementary School in the Vancouver school district. Attorney Bruce E. H. Johnson, a partner at law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in Seattle, said for Benton to sue, he will have to clear an extremely high legal bar. “First, as an elected official, you would need to prove there was knowledge of the statement being false or with reckless disregard of the truth,” Johnson said. “Second, statements in public hearings are considered absolutely privileged under the law.” Further, anti-SLAPP — Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation — law in Washington was strengthened in 2010 through legislation that Johnson helped draft, and that Benton ultimately voted in favor of along with 45 other members
of the state Senate. According to the Davis Wright Tremaine website, the legislation broadened the definition of protected free speech to include “any lawful conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of free speech” related to issues of public concern. The law also allows for an expedited hearing on the matter, and for a $10,000 penalty to be paid by the plaintiff if he or she fails to prove the speech was defamation. When asked about the high bar set by the expanded law, Benton said he doesn’t believe his concerns “hurts free speech or public comment at all.” “It keeps the comments germane, relevant and civil,” Benton said. “Which is what representative democracy is supposed to be.”
expect those records to be classified as private,” Dalton wrote in her decision. “Business conducted in the employees’ or public officials’ official capacities is not the personal property of that employee and is not subject to protections afforded to private property.” In the Nov. 1 ruling, Dalton dismissed the council members from the lawsuit. “I’m pleased that’s occurred,” Bonkowski said of Dalton’s dismissal of council members individually. “But we still have more issues with the lawsuit against the city still pending
legal action. The city continues to cooperate and fulfill its obligation with the public records.” Ward said he had no comment on the case because he’s a party in the case. Lester couldn’t be reached for comment. FIND YOUR 25-HOUR DAY
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Ex-police reporter NNA fights postal rate hike bids for Columbian dies National Newspaper Association
The Columbian, Vancouver
retired lead police reporter for the Columbian, John Branton, has died at age 66. He died Oct. 15 at his home in Vancouver, according to a friend and 911 logs. In a 27-year career with the newspaper, he reported thousands of stories — likely more local news stories than any other Columbian reporter. He had 325 bylines in calendar year 2011 alone. A native of Arizona, Branton was a reporter for the Lewis River News, a weekly newspaper in Woodland, before he joined the Columbian in May 1985 to cover north Clark County and Woodland. He quickly made the transition to the police beat. It was there, in the hustlebustle world of breaking news, that he found his calling. He had empathy both with the law enforcement sources and the people they arrested and jailed. He was a meticulous factchecker, dedicated to his job, and loathe to miss a story. He carried police scanners and, in later years, his cellphone with him everywhere. Thuogh most of his stories came from the police and breaking news beat, he could
handle any assignment. For many years he served double-duty as a restaurant reviewer for the Columbian’s Weekend John section. Branton He could often be seen eating dinner at his desk, reluctant to leave the array of emergency radio scanners behind in case news broke. He liked spicy food, and his tower of condiments—usually including several kinds of hot sauces—was legendary in the newsroom. After facing several chronic health challenges in recent years, Branton elected to retire from the Columbian in May 2012. Editor’s note: On the news of Branton’s death, Paul Suarez, the Columbian’s web producer, posted videos from Branton’s retirement party at blogs.columbian.com. “You know you’ve made it when Assistant Metro Editor Dave Kern sends you off with a parody song. John left with two, parodies of ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ and ‘Forever Young’ by Bob Dylan,” Suarez wrote.
he National Newspaper Association, America’s alliance of community weekly and daily newspapers, continues a multi-front attack against unfair postage rate increases with litigation at the Postal Regulatory Commission and strong grassroots work on Capitol Hill. NNA has joined the Affordable Mail Alliance at the PRC to object to the planned “exigency” postage increase proposed for January. NNA and others are arguing that the U.S. Postal Service has overstated the amount of its financial losses created by the Great Recession. On Capitol Hill, NNA opposes proposals by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, to hand over authority to USPS — to set rates and to change service levels without — pre-review by the Postal Regulatory Commission. Coburn’s proposals are included in a the Postal Reform Act of 2013, jointly proposed by Coburn and Sen. Thomas Carper, D-DE, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. NNA believes handing unfettered authority over the government monopoly’s services and rates to the USPS Board of Governors would result in higher rates for Periodicals and
more attempts at promoting selected direct mail products over newspaper advertising. “NNA has an obligation to the industry and our communities to help cure the ills of the Postal Service in ways that do not dilute service or drive more mailers out of the system. Both of those results would end up in a massive taxpayer bailout of the Postal Service in the future because mail volume will fall off even more sharply than it is today,” said NNA President Robert M. Williams, Jr. “We understand that new legislation is needed and that we will not always get what we want. But we have our sights trained on solutions that do not further diminish service, particularly in rural America. And we need a fair playing field for newspapers. “I have asked members of NNA’s Congressional Action Team, operating under the expert leadership of our chair, Deb McCaslin, of Nebraska, to call their senators on the Homeland Security committee, which will be writing the legislation,” he said. “We need to keep the PRC in a proper regulatory role and continue to work for laws that create meaningful cost controls for the Postal Service. “Our board in September reaffirmed our partnership with the Affordable Mail Alliance as well. We are working in a very
strong coalition to litigate at the PRC on the proposed rates.” Max Heath, NNA’s Postal Committee chair, has produced estimates on the impact of the proposed postal rates for newspapers. As always, the average proposed rate hits some newspapers harder than others. “We believe some rates will fall in the 8 percent to 9 percent range,” Heath said. “I have cautioned our members that these rates are proposed and not final. The PRC still has to speak. I believe we have a strong case to reduce this proposed increase and would hope we wind up with something closer to the legal increase within the rate of inflation.” McCaslin noted support for NNA’s position from Sen. Susan Collins, R-ME, one of the authors of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, where the inflation-based price cap was created. Collins has written the PRC that Congress never intended for the legal “exigency” or emergency rate authority to be used as USPS proposes. Collins said she believed the exigency power was to be used “sparingly … only if terrorist attacks, natural disasters and other events cause significant and substantial declines in mail volume.” She said the PRC’s approval of the higher rates could be inconsistent with the law.
Valassis ruling labeled disappointing Jeff Gauger named Greensboro publisher National Newspaper Association
News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.
ews & Record Executive Editor Jeff Gauger was promoted to publisher Nov. 7, a move that will allow him to keep a hand in the news-gathering efforts that he loves. Gauger started Nov. 18 as the top executive of the 123-year-old publication. He replaced publisher Robin Saul, who retired Nov. 15. Gauger, 53, retained his role as the paper’s editor-in-chief when he assumed new duties that include oversight of the News & Record’s advertising, circulation, marketing, production and other business functions. “I’m a ‘newsie’ at heart,” Gauger said. “Nothing turns me on more than when an editor and his or her reporter have their teeth into a really good story that the world doesn’t know about until we tell them.” Kevin Kampman, vice president of community newspapers for Berkshire Hathaway Media Group, which bought the News & Record in late January, announced the promotion. “Importantly for his new role, Jeff understands all aspects of the newspaper business and will provide the leadership we need to adapt to the rapid pace of change and increase collaboration across all newspaper departments,” Kampman said. Gauger plans to hire a managing editor, ideally in
about two months, to supervise the newsroom’s day-to-day operations. He joined the News & Record in his current role in March 2012, relocating with his family from Canton, Ohio, where he was executive editor of that community’s daily newspaper, The Repository. Gauger and his wife, Liz, have two school-age daughters. He grew up in southwest Washington State, where his parents, Dave and Rick Gauger, published several weekly newspapers. He later worked as a reporter, metro editor and assistant managing editor at the Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska, and as managing editor at the Rockford Register Star in Rockford, Ill. Since Gauger’s arrival, he has led efforts that resulted in a new digital team of reporters and editors who have beefed up the newspaper’s website and its coverage of breaking news. The news staff also has re-emphasized and refocused its religion, business and government coverage. “We’re not backing off any of those things,” he said. Editor’s note: Dave Gauger adds that prior to attending graduate school, Jeff was mentored by Wallie Funk and Dave Pinkham at the Whidbey News-Times in Oak Harbor.
ational Newspaper Association President Robert M. Williams Jr. expressed his disappointment last month with a decision by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that affirmed the Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) handling of the Valassis postage discounts last year. “The Court did not say it agreed with the Postal Service’s decision to grant special discount rates to this large direct mailer. It simply said it would not disrupt the expertise of the PRC,” Williams said. “That is the posture federal courts normally take in regulatory matters. But we believed, and still believe, that the Commission’s analysis of the antitrust issues in this case was flawed.” NNA joined the Newspaper Association of America last year in appealing the PRC’s grant of deeply discounted rates through a Negotiated Service Agreement
(NSA) to Valassis for launching of a weekend direct mail program intended to pull advertising out of newspapers and into the direct mail stream. Vigorous industry protest against the decision resulted in heavy litigation at the PRC and the courts, and objections on Capitol Hill, where many members of Congress raised concerns about the deal. The Postal Service has not yet provided a report to the PRC on the status of the Valassis NSA. “We believe this unfair alliance will still not be successful,” said Williams, noting that plans by Valassis have not materialized as planned. “Valassis has long been one of the newspaper industry’s largest customers themselves and I believe they will find no better vehicle for retailers than newspapers.” In an earnings call with investors in October, Valassis CEO Robert Mason declined to comment on the success of the weekend program, branded as
Spree. He said “we have packages in markets… (W)e’ll make a determination where it goes in terms of rollout by the end of this year.” Williams said the next step is up to Congress. “Many members of Congress have told our member newspapers that they do not want the nation’s postal system to play off one private industry against another in the advertising marketplace,” he said. “NNA certainly believes USPS owes it to newspapers not to intentionally attack our businesses. We have maintained an effective partnership with the Postal Service for more than 100 years. This Valassis deal tarnished that relationship. We hope USPS now understands how deeply newspapers feel about fair play in the advertising markets. ”
Chewelah takes 110th to streets
Owners play host, pick up subscribers
ore than 35 people took advantage of a subscription offer the Independent in Chewelah extended during its 110th anniversary party. At the street party hosted by Jared and Andrea Arnold, Independent owners since 2009, new and existing subscribers could buy a year for $19.03, since the newspaper has been serving the community since then. The standard rate is $23. From the roster of activities the paper offered to thank readers, advertisers and community members for their support, the
happy memories made that day significantly outnumbered those subscribers. “Many of the guests were young families, business owners, community leaders and city councilmen who stay a long time telling fun stories about the past and enjoying each other’s company,” Kellie Trudeau reported in her follow-up story in the Sept. 12 Independent. During the party, newspaper office visitors received a copy of the anniversary edition with its local historical pages, explored a display of 40 years of the paper’s archives and enjoyed anniversary cake served by high school cheerleaders. Festivities spilled out of
Arlington, Marysville change to Saturdays
he Arlington Times and Marysville Globe this fall changed their publication date from Wednesday to Saturday. General manager C. Paul Brown announced the change as a win-win for advertisers and readers alike. The Saturday distribution improves advertising opportunities for national advertisers and aligns the two newspapers with the weekend ad buy for their sister newspaper, the Daily Herald in Everett.
Readers benefit through additional money-saving offers from advertising circulars in the Globe and Times and also through a new approach to weekly news. “From an editorial standpoint, moving to a Saturday distribution model will enable us to provide the communities we serve with a summary of the week’s events, as well as a look at the upcoming week,” Brown wrote in his Sept. 25 announcement. The change was made Oct. 5.
the newspaper office onto the adjacent block, where the street was closed to provide space for free activities, all offered by the Independent in partnership with local groups, as follows: Carnival games: Chewelah PTSA Free hot dogs, chips and sodas: Chewelah Kiwanis Club Face-painting: Chewelah Arts Guild and cheerleaders Raffle-ticket sale: Chewelah Chamber of Commerce Wagon rides: Hartill’s Mountain Saw and Tractor Audio: Chewelah Community Radio broadcasted the event live and G Minor Sounds streamed the radio station at the party. Tables and chairs:
Kellie Trudeau/Chewelah Independent
Ellie Hartill and Olive, Bridger and Lesli Johnson get ready for a hayride to the city museum during the Chewelah Independent’s 110th anniversary festivities. Community Celebrations Rain canopies: Hansen Logging Those who took a free wagon ride to the local Walter
E. Goodman Historical Museum saw a display of newspaper equipment and toured the museum on its last day of the season.
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they faced. Several cited the situation of Gold Bar, where the cost of records requests and lawsuits related to them had run up such a tab that city leaders at one point considered filing bankruptcy and disbanding the town. After setting aside Takko’s bill, the Legislature put up $25,000 for the Ruckelshaus Center to assess the situation and provide guidance. The center seeks to be a neutral portal for information and resources for resolving conflicts. Center staff conducted in-depth interviews with 35 people including Ramsey
Ramerman, an attorney with the city of Everett, and Gold Bar Mayor Joe Beavers. On Friday, Page outlined the preliminary findings to the House Local Government committee and the House Government Operations and Elections committee. The final report is due Dec. 15. Rep. Sam Hunt, D-Olympia, chairman of the House Government Operations and Elections Committee, said a solution is needed but finding one may be too much to expect in the upcoming 60-day legislative session. “I think we need to figure it out. Local governments
keep coming in and saying it’s a huge problem,” he said. “I don’t think it comes up. I think the process of getting a resolution is going to be going on outside of here.” Nancy Truitt Pierce of the Monroe School District Board of Directors said she hoped the Legislature does try to address it, because those so-called problem requests continue to come in. “We still need some way to make sure no one is going to abuse the privilege” of the public records law, she said. “It’s not fair to our taxpayers to have to pay for someone who is abusing the privilege.”
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SVR marks 100th with inside look at paper’s history
hen & Now,” the 100thanniversary publication by the Snoqualmie Valley Record, packs a lot of information and flavor into a 16-page, full-color report. Photos and small ads and illustrations from the paper’s early days evoke times past, while a timeline highlights the century’s significant events in the valley. Features about people formerly associated with the paper, from editors and publishers to advertising sales staff and photographers, give readers a contemporary look at the faces and lives of those familiar people. For example, some readers may not know that John Groshell, who owns a local golf course, grew up at the paper in the ’50s when his parents published it, or that he taught for five years in local schools before he pursued his interest in golf. Gloria McNeely, who also worked for Groshell’s parents, started out as the bookkeeper and became a writer and eventually assistant editor. Readers learned about her early history in the valley and her role on King County’s valley levee administration. Jim McKiernan, former owner with his wife Karen, responded to a series of ques-
tions, offering observations on changes in the valley since the couple bought the paper in 1996. He recalled how they tried to use the paper to educate readers about the community’s past during a time of tremendous growth. McKiernan also updated readers on his and Karen’s life in Moses Lake, their daughter Lynnae’s pursuit of a nursing degree, and their renewed appreciation for life and memories since they lost their son, James, in 2011. Former editor Brian Kelly and photographer Chad Coleman, who each got their start at the Record and then moved on to other newspapers in the area, reflected on their memories of working at the Record. The paper worked on the publication in concert with the historical society, where they have a very good relationship and some past SVR editors are active. “It was very well received,” said publisher Bill Shaw. Strong support came in from advertisers, whose 26 colorful ads, quarter- or halfpage, spread across nine of the 16 pages. The Record’s origins are in the North Bend Post, first Snoqualmie Valley Record published Oct. 16, 1913, by The cover of the Snoqualmie Valley Record’s 100th anniversary report, “Then & Now.” B.N. Kennedy.
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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An a-Muse-ing story about digital design B ack in the days of CS5, it became relatively simple for an InDesign user to design a website in InDesign, then export it as a Flash file that could be viewed online. Although it worked well, it wasn’t very long before Flash files became problematic, primarily due to Apple’s refusal to support them on iPads and iPhones. So even though I’d created several websites in InDesign, I quickly changed that practice. Then came InDesign CS5.5 and CS6, which made it possible to export HTML5 directly from InDesign. Frankly, though, the process always seemed to work with less than perfect results, so I gave up on that idea. When I subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud a few months ago, I looked around the site for apps available through the normal subscription. Along with InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and other applications I used regularly, there was a name I hadn’t thought of in a while: Muse. I’ve done a lot of beta testing for companies through the years. With Adobe, some of the titles included InDesign (we called it “K2” back then), Acrobat and more. Somewhere around 2010 or 2011, I remember beta testing an app called “Muse,” which purported to be the easiest website tool ever developed. I had my doubts, but I remember being quite impressed with Muse as I went through the beta. Fast forward a couple of years and I’m looking through the Creative Cloud options and, lo and behold, there is Muse
CC. Wanting to find new apps for professional designers who are already subscribed to the Cloud, I decided to Kevin Slimp take Muse for Director, a spin. It was a Institute of Newspaper nice ride. To do a full Technology review of the project would take pages, so let’s take a quick overview and you can decide if it’s worth downloading Muse and trying it out for yourself.
Creating New Documents
The first thing I noticed about Muse was that the process for creating a new website was much the same as creating a new document in InDesign. I simply entered the size (in pixels instead of inches), the margin and a few other details. When I hit the OK button, there appeared before me a white page, much like I would see in InDesign.
The Muse Desktop
For an InDesign or Illustrator user, Muse is very straightforward. Most of the same shortcuts work that work in those apps. Most of the same panels that we’re used to are in the same place. You’ll find the Character Panel, various styles and more.
Working with Tools
The toolbar in Muse looks surprisingly similar to the toolbar in InDesign. Placing files on the page works the same.
Kit, a service included in Creative Cloud. You don’t even have to leave the application to visit a website. It’s built right into Muse.
ABOVE: Muse starts off your new website a lot like your InDesign documents. BELOW: When you’re done, you can upload straight from the application, even to a site hosted by Adobe. Elements can be copied and pasted from InDesign and other applications. Want to place a photo? Place it like you do in InDesign or Illustrator. Want to place a video? Place it like a photo.
All That HTML Stuff
HTML code. That’s what separates the designer from the web guru. Not to fear. I wanted to place a Google Map right on my page. I simply went to maps.google.com in my browser and copied the HTML code by clicking a button on the site. I then went to Muse, entered Object>Insert HTML, and there it was. A Google Map on my page. I could move through the map on my website just like I could on maps.google.com. I was nothing short of amazed.
I’m a Dreamweaver hack from way back. I always
hated working with text in Dreamweaver. It never seemed to look the way I wanted when I saw the final product. Not so with Muse. Text works like text in InDesign. Even more amazing, you can choose from thousands of web safe fonts using Type
I’m not one for hyperbole, but seriously, this is nothing short of fantastic. Not only will Muse export the HTML, which it does just fine, but it will FTP it to your web host for you. Just enter the necessary information and password and, boom!, you’re online. And if that’s not enough, Adobe will host the site for you. When you finish designing a Muse site, it’s already online, so others can view it. You’re given the necessary URL so others can find it. If you want, and you probably do, you can purchase your own URL (KevinSlimp. com, for instance) and point it to Adobe’s server. A Creative Cloud subscription includes hosting up to five Muse sites. Listen, I don’t work for Adobe. It matters not to me whether you subscribe to the Creative Cloud or not. But I’m guessing, for smaller papers, we could pay for our Cloud subscriptions in web hosting fees alone. That should be enough to whet your appetite. For more information, visit Adobe.come to download a free trial version of Muse. I was so impressed with Muse that I decided to add it to the curriculum of the Institute of Newspaper Technology. I must really like it. Reach Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAREER MOVES n Joe Heslet has been named general manager of the Issaquah Press media group. He will focus on the business side, primarily Joe Heslet on advertising sales. Heslet’s career experiences include his tenure as director of sales and advertising at the Puget Sound Business Journal and as general sales manager for Fisher Communications’ KOMO and KVI stations. He also founded and led his own research firm. “We are fortunate to have someone with such an impressive and diverse media background join our team,” said Publisher Debbie Berto. Heslet brings appreciation for the importance of community newspapers and a track record of improving revenue through innovative strategies for sales and marketing. The media group includes the Issaquah Press, Sammamish Review, SnoValley Star in Snoqualmie and Newcastle News and their companion websites. Heslet and his wife, Linda, have a son, Michael, a senior at Eastlake High School. Their daughter Christine is a junior at Central Washington University. n Kurt Batdorf, editor of the Herald Business Journal since May 2010, left the Journal to
become assignment editor of the Skagit Valley Herald in Mount Vernon. n The Nisqually Valley News in Yelm hired Nomee Landis to cover business, the military, education, health, the environment and also to write a weekly column on the community. Her experience includes 10 years with the Fayetteville Observer in North Carolina, where she covered many of her newly assigned NVN beats and wrote a column. Since then, Landis has written a book, “Answering the Call,” and helped write the script for an accompanying documentary film. She and her husband, Army Sergeant Major Todd Landis, moved to Washington from Hawaii, where he was stationed at Camp H.M. Smith. He is now stationed at Joint Base LewisMcChord. They have three children, Gerik, 24; Zoe, 22; and Olin, 13. Also new at the NVN is Bekka Kraal, 18, who had been working a part-time job and now is full time at the NVN’s front desk. She’s lived in Yelm since age 6 and graduated from high school in June. She is saving for community college. Kraal succeeds Christy Clarke, who was promoted to an advertising position. n Caleb Breakey, former sports writer for the Lynden Tribune, this fall had a book published by Harvest House Publishers. In “Called to Stay: An Uncompromising Mission to Save Your Church” he writes
about the departure from the church of many of the Millenial generation, those born between about 1982 to 2000. The publisher and author plan to give away 6,500 copies to get the book out quickly and spur sales. Breakey and his wife, Brittney, also a writer, did a two-week book tour in California this fall, attending conferences of youth ministry leaders. The couple are night managers of a Bellingham retirement center where, after quiet nights, they can write during the day. n The News Tribune in Tacoma has named Kate Martin the Tacoma City Hall reporter. Previously she covered government agencies and schools for the Skagit Valley Herald in Mount Vernon. Martin succeeds Lewis Kamb, who joined the Seattle Times as an
investigative reporter. She and her husband live in Tacoma. New on the West Pierce County beat at the News Tribune is Brynn Grimley. Since 2006, she had been a county government reporter for the Kitsap Sun in Bremerton. Previously she worked for a weekly paper in Virginia. Grimley succeeds Christian Hill, who accepted a position as city hall reporter at the Eugene (Ore.) Register Guard. n Beacon Publishing added new staff in the newsroom, advertising sales and production this fall. Megan Managan is covering youth sports for the Edmonds and Mukilteo weeklies. Her background includes four and half years as sports editor and photographer at the Mercer Island Reporter. She was also sports editor for
the Kirkland Reporter, a sister newspaper, and a reporter for the Lake Chelan Mirror in Chelan. Managan graduated in journalism from Washington State University. Advertising coordinator Jennifer Barker’s skill set includes design, organization and multi-tasking. Before becoming a full-time mother of three, Barker worked for 15 years at an architecture firm, advancing from receptionist to architectural drafter. For the three years since then, she has been an active volunteer at her children’s schools. Graphic artist Debbie McGill has 27 years of graphic design experience. She joined the Herald in Everett in 1990 and over 19 years, served in a variety positions where she was part of the transition from using hot-wax paste-up tools to Quark, Photoshop and InDesign.