I remember being 10 years old in my hometown of Ellensburg and creating my own “magazine,” using sheets of paper and a pencil. I remember my mother — a news junkie in the best sense — reading the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in the morning, The Seattle Times in the afternoon and The Ellensburg Daily Record in between. I remember, as the editor of the Seattle University student newspaper, wielding an X-Acto knife to carefully cut pieces of an already-waxed news story and pressing them into place on layout boards in preparation for the printing process. Those X-Acto knife skills served me well as I moved into professional jobs with small newspapers, where we were expected to help with layout prior to publication.
Now, as the publisher of online-only news for Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace, the keyboard has become my X-Acto knife, and the “Publish” button is my printing press.
Online news has been a great equalizer for people like me, who could have never imagined having the resources to be a “news publisher.” Early in my journalism career, the newspaper publisher was the guy (yes, they were — and still are — mostly male) who sat in the corner office, cigarette dangling from his mouth, and whose interactions with reporters were usually limited to telling us that we couldn’t run a story because it would hurt an advertiser. (Yes, that happened — and probably still does.)
Print is an expensive, time-consuming business, which is why so many newspapers have struggled to stay afloat as newspaper ad revenue continues to shrunk. Yet, I will admit there are days when I am tempted to start a print publication, for one simple reason: visibility.
For all the complaints about newspapers blowing around on the street and creating litter, or the newspaper boxes being unsightly and blocking the path of pedestrians, or the jokes about newspapers being use as bird cage liners, there is nothing like having a physical presence that reminds people of your existence.
There is also the issue of credibility. The early days of blogging gave online news a bad name, and to this day some people don’t believe a publication is a viable news source unless it comes from a printing press.
I cancelled my print newspaper subscriptions several years ago and now get my news almost exclusively online or via the radio while I’m driving. And it’s nothing against print, from this former print journalist. It’s just that the rolled-up newspapers stacked up and filled my recycle bin. I simply did not have time to sit down and read them.
Reading something in print is also a generational issue, to an extent. Some older people who grew up with print — and even some younger people who want to “unplug” from a digital screen — tell me they like to sit down and read a print newspaper.
So will you be seeing an MLTnews print edition any time soon? Unlikely. I’m proud that we are “there” for you all the time, no matter where you are — at your home or office or anywhere. Because we aren’t tied to a printing press, print deadlines or space limitations, we provide you with breaking news, updated as it happens, when we learn about it.
You can also receive our FREE daily email newsletter and get a summary of all the news delivered directly to your inbox first thing each morning. Email me directly with your address and I’ll put you on the list today.
Finally, an important reminder: While we don’t have a print product, we do have our share of expenses, including writers, editors, photographers, salespeople and tech support folks, as well as payment for web hosting and numerous other services that keep our publications running in Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.
We are able to keep the virtual lights for two reasons: The support of our advertisers, plus voluntary subscriptions or one-time donations from our readers. I appreciate every one of you who has written a check or made an online donation in the past year. But…
- If it’s been a while since you’ve donated, please do so again.
- If you subscribed a year ago and your subscription has expired, please re-subscribe.
- If you’re a business owner who can’t afford to advertise, please subscribe for $3 or $5 or $10 a month. Any amount is appreciated!
- If you are a civic or business leader who has told me how much you admire what I do, subscribe.
- If you are a reader who has stopped me on the street to thank me, please — you guessed it — subscribe.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Your support is always appreciated and never taken for granted.
- Teresa Wippel, Publisher