Opinion

A fond farewell to a great community | Editorial

This is my last editorial as the editor and publisher of The Whidbey Examiner, Coupeville and Central Whidbey’s hometown newspaper.

I’m returning to the field of public relations, having recently accepted a position at the Washington Department of Revenue in Olympia. It’s going to be hard to leave the newspaper – and the many friends I’ve made – here in Coupeville. But for me, it’s time for a new challenge.

We achieved success in rescuing a community newspaper that was teetering on the edge of survival, helping it to grow and succeed despite the worst economy since the Great Depression. At time it’s been a tough slog, with long hours and many challenges, but it’s all been worth it.

It’s been an honor and a privilege to record the past six years of Coupeville and Central Whidbey history in these pages. From spelling bees and sports victories to government snafus and contentious elections, the Examiner has been there to ask questions, shoot photographs and report the news.

But all that hard work would be for nothing if not for the readers who look forward to reading the paper each week, and participate in its success by sending in news tips, story ideas and letters to the editor.

Examiner readers have been extremely loyal during the 18-plus years the paper has been reporting our local news. After I bought the paper from former publisher Mary Kay Doody a little over six years ago, I changed the name of the paper from The Coupeville Examiner to The Whidbey Examiner in order to appeal to a wider audience. Based on the outrage that rose up from those loyal readers, you would have thought I had shut the paper down!

Now that the paper is owned by the same company that owns the North Whidbey and South Whidbey community papers, I’d like to suggest to incoming publisher Keven Graves that he seriously consider changing the name back. I think he would receive a hero’s welcome for that accomplishment.

I’m proud of the way the Examiner is integral to the life of our community, not only reporting the news and delivering important information to our readers, but also making important contributions to the community’s success.

One example is the leadership role the newspaper took in advocating for preservation of reliable ferry service on the Coupeville-Port Townsend route, which helped push lawmakers to come through with money to build three new ferries.

The newspaper also has contributed to the community in more lighthearted ways, such as reviving the idea of an annual community portrait, a photo now taken at the Coupeville Farmers Market each year in late summer. The Examiner also started a new holiday tradition with its annual Gingerbread Challenge, a fun – and free – contest aimed at encouraging playful creativity among local residents of all ages.

It’s that community involvement that’s been the most fun and satisfying aspect of being a small-town newspaper publisher for the past six years. I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

I’ll be living a few hours away in Olympia, but I know I’ll be back frequently to visit friends and attend community events (this time without a camera and notebook in hand!). And while it’s still a ways off for me, when it comes time for retirement, I can easily picture myself looking for a nice little beach house with a view across pretty little Penn Cove.

– Publisher Kasia Pierzga

 

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