Opinion

EDITOR'S COLUMN | New Record editor says hello, looks to future

Well, here I am.

It seems like just yesterday I was new to Whidbey Island and begging for a job at the South Whidbey Record. Now, a handful of years later, I’m the editor with the reins in my hands.

To those who already know me, that prospect may delight or terrify. So far, the former appears the norm as many have welcomed me with warm smiles and genuine notes of congratulation.

They were appreciated.

For those I haven’t met, I imagine you’re wondering about my background, my beliefs about journalism and my plans for The Record.

I have worked for all three of Whidbey Island’s newspapers. At the Whidbey Examiner, I covered the town’s shoreline master program, a document so contested every council member saw a challenger in the next election.

Later, I wrote about Island County’s transition to its first all-Democrat, and later the first all-female, board of commissioners.

Angie Homola’s campaign to unseat Mac McDowell is likely still fresh in many people’s minds, especially in South Whidbey where Record coverage led to what was may have been the newspaper’s first picket.

I left the Examiner for the Whidbey News-Times only to land myself in another bombshell — the Pioneer Way improvement project.

Already controversial, the city would later unearth Native American remains, resulting in former Mayor Jim Slowik losing his seat, and most recently, a $9 million lawsuit.

At The Record, I covered the short-lived political career of Larry Kwarsick, Langley’s planner-turned-mayor. I picked up the county beat again, writing about the ongoing theatrics of the commissioners, and most recently, the explosive debate over jet noise at the Navy’s Outlying Field Coupeville.

These were heated, often polarizing issues and one might wonder why anyone would chose to be involved.

Well, I’ve had some great teachers and managed to pick up a few things along the way.

From Kasia Pierzga, I learned that journalism is the awesome privilege of penning the first draft of history. From Brian Kelly, I learned to dig deeper and what makes a good photograph. Jim Larsen taught me that you can cover any issue, no matter how contentious, and still retain the respect of readers and the people you’re writing about.

All that’s required is fairness and accuracy. They are the cornerstones upon which all good news stories are written.

He also attempted to pass on brevity, that the end of the world could be covered in 15 inches or less.

It didn’t stick.

My point is everyone has something to give and my contribution to South Whidbey remains to be seen.

What I can say now is that good journalism matters to me.

I care about accuracy. I care about fairness. And I care about timeliness.

My greatest hope is that future editions of the Record will be a reflection of those values.

Community Events, April 2014

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