From the Publisher’s Desk: Overcoming the ‘b’ word

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Teresa
Teresa Wippel

The “b” word is a euphemism generally used to replace a profane word starting with the letter b.

— Wikipedia

No, I’m not talking about that word. It’s this word.

Blog.

Since I started My Edmonds News six years ago, I have heard more than one public official say (with distaste, I might add), “I don’t read the blogs.” Now granted, it used to be that Edmonds had several online-only publications. There was Edmonds KOMO. And Edmonds Patch. And Pivot. And maybe a few others I’m forgetting. So it could be that some online sites were viewed as less credible than others.

But now that all of those publications have gone away, I still hear people make that comment. “I don’t read the blogs.”

OK. You mean, My Edmonds News? Because we are the one publication that shows up when no one else does. Every Edmonds City Council meeting. Every Edmonds School Board Meeting. Every major event. We don’t miss much. And we always photograph and often videotape the big events too, so that there is a way for folks to see what happened later.

So let’s get to the definition of a “blog.” According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, it’s “a Web site on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences.”

My Edmonds News clearly doesn’t fit that definition. While we have columnists who talk about their activities and experiences with food or parents or travel, we label them as such (just as newsprint publications do). While we accept letters to the editor or opinion pieces, we also label them as such (just as newsprint publications do).

But I can say with absolute certainty that those My Edmonds News writers reporting on news events strive to be objective in their reporting and analysis of local issues. We do not seek to mold or influence public opinion. We do not editorialize. We do not advocate for or against candidates for public office. We do not take sides in voter initiatives. Rather we seek foster an informed public opinion through objective reporting that gives citizens the information they need to gain an unbiased understanding of issues and events in the news. We hope that by doing this, we encourage citizens to become more engaged in the community — just as (most) publications printed on newsprint strive to do.

Still, I get why some people feel the need to discredit online news sources.

Putting information online means that people can comment on stories. They can also debate each other. There’s no waiting for the weekly newspaper to post a few letters to the editor, and then waiting another week for someone to post a response. In fact, there’s no waiting at all. Both the criticism and the praise is immediate. And it can be uncomfortable, especially when you’re in the hot seat.

I know, because I’ve been there myself. Readers have called me out when they thought I made a bad decision. And I’ve either defended it, or I’ve owned up to a mistake. (OK, sometimes I’ve ignored it too.)

Here’s another recent example. Last fall, the City of Edmonds conducted a survey to gather opinions on the Sunset Avenue Walkway. One question asked respondents how they would prefer to receive information on the project, with choices ranging from public meetings to email to My Edmonds News to the Edmonds Beacon weekly newspaper.

Interestingly, 68 percent of survey respondents said they’d like to receive information via My Edmonds News (compared to 49 percent who preferred the Beacon). Not bad, I thought.

But then, as I scrolled through the survey comments, I got a much-needed reality check.

My Edmonds News is merely a blog,” one commenter sniffed. “It is not a newspaper of record, and should not be used as such.”

My Edmonds News is a blog not a newspaper, by the way,” another commenter added.

I will agree that we are not a newspaper. And I am really glad about that. We have very low overhead. We are able to post information quickly and efficiently. We don’t have to wait for the presses to run or the ink to dry.  We sent out a daily email newsletter every morning at 4 a.m. (just like having a newspaper delivered in your driveway, only you don’t have to walk through the rain to get it).

That said, we do have expenses. We pay writers and editors and photographers and graphic designers and ad sales reps. We pay for technical support and web hosting. And we give back to many worthy causes in the community, too. We value the support of our advertisers and we can never thank them enough. And we have loyal readers who pay for a voluntary subscription — weekly, monthly, annually or one-time — via credit card or check. You can learn more about those options here.

It seems fitting, then, to close with yet another comment from the Sunset Avenue Walkway survey:

“I prefer My Edmonds News because its news is click-able and more versatile and you can go back to ‘old”‘ editions of news articles. Nowadays paper is for bird cages.”

Have you subscribed yet?

Until next time,

Teresa Wippel, publisher

 

14 Replies to “From the Publisher’s Desk: Overcoming the ‘b’ word”

  1. You do an amazing, job, Teresa! I often tell people that, and encourage them to check your site out for up to the minute, accurate, thorough and professional reporting on everything Edmonds. Thank you for doing all you do, (and somehow make it look easy).

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  2. Teresa,
    I agree, and you are making our community a better place to live. I appreciate your support of our many nonprofit organizations. You graciously provide announcements of their fund-raising events, and also write stories celebrating all the good they are doing in our area.
    Thank you for your service!

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  3. I subscribed and will again, as I start every day with My Edmonds News. It’s an epaper…a newspaper in digital form.

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  4. I’m a happy supporter as well, and appreciate what you all do for the community and how challenging it must be! Keep up the good work. My subscription has been renewed.

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  5. I agree that Teresa does an excellent job and Edmonds is so very fortunate for her having made this huge commitment to our community. I can attest to many meetings she or one of her reporters have attended that I might not have thought was worth their time but appreciate the comprehensiveness of coverage. Do read the Beacon in print but rely on news from online NYTimes and myedmondsnews.com, so this would be greatly missed if not for Teresa!

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  6. Dear Teresa & Staff, I have found this article very interesting. Undoubtedly, a few people have not given My Edmonds News a chance to see what it is all about. I know that every morning, I can bring it up and read the news of the past 24 hours of my own community. I subscribe to the Everett Herald and Seattle Times. In comparing them to My Edmonds News, I find that the Herald and the Times often have not reported OUR local news. When reading My Edmonds News, we are kept up to date with all of the local news from sports to new businesses opening up, to the crime in our back yard, etc. If you have noticed it or not, it is in our home at 4 AM (or near to it) just waiting to let us know the latest news is in OUR very own city. I have often wondered how Teresa gets any sleep. It seems as though she is working 24/7. Please keep up the great job, Teresa. There are always those who are critical, but it is their loss if they do not read OUR e-newspaper. I for one am truly enjoying and appreciating My Edmonds News everyday!

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  7. I come here for the authenticity. 😉 Thank you for being the real deal.

    I heard that “b” word reference at a job interview once and couldn’t muster the poker face of someone who would enjoy working inside of a box. Some people are resistant to change, which is unfortunate due to the ever-changing nature of life. There is joy in discovering new possibilities!
    “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.”
    — Jack Kornfield

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  8. Nicely said, Teresa.
    I like how Kathy refers to My Edmonds News as an EPaper — newspaper in digital form.

    Bravo to you and your staff for the countless hours (…so many of them unpaid!!) you put into growing our community Enews publication. It speaks highly of your commitment and integrity to news reporting.

    Take heart, Teresa, in medieval times when town criers were the way to get the latest news to the general public, when town criers brought bad news, they needed protection. Harming a town crier was considered treason, spawning the phrase “don’t shoot the messenger”.

    Thank you and your staff for all you’re doing for our community.

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  9. Teresa and Staff,
    Thank you for all that you do to keep our communities connected with local news, announcements and events. My Edmonds News and Lynnwood Today provide a service to our communities that the other media sources do not. I unsubscribed to the Herald many years ago because they did not cover our local news or school events. Every morning I open the two emails from you to find out what is happening locally to keep me informed. Your team does a wonderful job, Keep it up, I appreciate what you do!

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  10. Great article, Teresa. I look forward to reading the LATEST local news rather than waiting for it to show up in the papers (which I also read daily). MEN also has more in depth reporting on what is important to us. Thanks for your hard work and unbiased approach.

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  11. The Edmonds Beacon and My Edmonds News both fill important niches within our community. I applaud both of these endeavors for valuable information they provide!

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  12. As an Edmonds expatriate now living in North Kitsap, I value My Edmonds News for its immediacy and range of coverage on a daily basis. As a former print newspaper editor and reporter, I also value the Edmonds Beacon. I pick up copies for its news coverage and columnists on our frequent visits to downtown Edmonds along with other Edmonds-oriented print publications. Obviously, there is competition for limited advertising dollars that support all these efforts. That competition demands producing good content to attract and maintain readership and creative marketing to attract advertising support. Having several media providing such content serves the community well. Those which don’t do so, will fade away.

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  13. Hi Teresa – your daily email digest of local stories is my primary means of keeping up with what’s happening in Edmonds and around the Edmonds school district. Our household has subscribed to the Herald and Seattle Times in the past, usually due to a great “introductory” offer. We always end up cancelling our subscriptions because the print version usually went directly from our driveway to the recycle bin. The news source I use consistently everyday is My Edmonds News! Thanks for your perseverance, attention to detail and just plain hard work. My Edmonds News has enhanced our community and lives!

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