I rolled into the Harbor 13 days ago on a Sunday night and started my new gig the next morning as editor of The Daily World, a paper and position and community that I have desired to work at for years. The stars finally aligned and here I am.
I was fortunate to have an authentic, manly-man of a nephew who lives in a big house on the golf course at Ocean Shores to temporarily house me. He and his sweet, outdoorsy wife (she took her boys razor clam digging Wednesday night) and their two boys, ages six and nine, — one fixated on BMX bike riding and the other on all things baseball — took me in, fed me the occasional dinner and put up with my late-night new editor antics of taking over the kitchen table to try and figure out how the heck to put out the paper.
The Harbor is, for me, to use a cliche — which is a writing convention I frown upon by the reporters — like being a kid in a candy store, another activity my new family’s boys have taught me these past few days. Fortunately for them, as of this writing, it appears I have found a place to rent for now on the Pacific Ocean in Tokeland.
I am, to put it mildly, excited to be your new editor.
Perhaps my favorite spot in this world is sitting at a dinner table at the Tokeland Hotel, the oldest hotel in Washington with what I think is also the best food served in the Evergreen State (my favorite is the cranberry pot roast for dinner followed by eggs Benedict in the morning).
The county has just about everything an editor desires: the coast and drivable beaches, the historic county seat Montesano, the Lady Washington moored right in the middle of the county, a rich history, the Coast Guard and all that the seaport fishing village of Westport offers, two Native American tribes and destination communities such as Ocean Shores and Seabrook.
And that, to offer another cliche, is just scratching the surface. My other writing bugaboos, by the way, are the overuse of the word “that,” and the use anytime of the word “thing” in writing.
Part of the allure of living in Grays Harbor is all the water. The lakes, the waterways where the salt water shakes hands with fresh, the inland bays and my favorite, the roar of the waves pounding on the sandy beaches that seem to stretch forever in places such as Ocean Shores.
That I am attracted to salt water is not by accident. I grew up in Port Townsend, an idyllic, former bucolic town once filled with hippies left over from the ‘60s, where we used to walk to the beach as young’uns all summer long and jump off the wharf at Fort Warden Historical State Park, then proceed to have jellyfish throwing fights.
I’ve moved from Port Townsend, went to university in another historic water town at Western Washington University in Bellingham, lived right on the water in Moses Lake, back to upper Hood Canal in a former ferry boat reception area converted to a rental, lived on the oldest beach shack in Dyes Inlet near Bremerton (before roads, ships would sail in and the crew would cut down the biggest trees on the shore to eventually sell as lumber, but first would cut down massive cedar trees and use them as foundations for a cooking shack; my home on Dyes Inlet sat on what formerly was one such shack), then for the past several decades on Mayfield Lake (located in the rural sticks best described as somewhere between Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens), and finally now, at the Harbor.
I offer thanks to The Daily World Publisher Mike Hrycko for hiring me and welcoming me into his friendly and more-than-capable staff and operations.
I also give thanks to past editors. I follow Editor Wyatt Haupt Jr., who was kind enough to teach me the ins and outs of being an editor at The Daily World on his way out to bright journalism pastures. Before that Haupt succeeded the popular Doug Barker who worked for The Daily World for 37 years, working his way up from reporter to editor for his final 10 years before Haupt.
That I get to be part of the fine tradition of esteemed editor of The Daily World John Hughes is an honor. I went to his retirement party in 2008 (I was editor of The Chronicle in Centralia at the time) after he put in an astounding 42 years at news headquarters in Aberdeen. He was and still is a character who is much respected in the news industry across the state.
I walked into a great staff at The Daily World, thanks to Publisher Hrycko and also Editor Haupt who left me with a fine crew of reporters. The people who really run the paper, the significant three found at the front of the paper— Kathy Bradt, Leslie Bebich and Karen Barkstrom — could not be more caring about this community and newspaper, and more knowledgeable about the goings on in the Harbor. I thank them for putting up with my ignorance of policies and procedures and just getting around in the office.
With all that said, I could use your help. I am interested in the readers of The Daily World who have an eye for taking photographs in submitting their finest work (see pages A8 and A9 for an example in today’s newspaper), I desire letters to the editor from all viewpoints, and perhaps most valued, call me with story ideas and constructive criticism.
My phone number and email are 360-537-3923 and email@example.com.
Feel free to stop by and chat, but maybe not on deadline which is Monday through Thursday until about 4 p.m. Call me and I can make time for you on Fridays, and even on weekends if you are buying.
Finally, the Harbor is fortunate to have a local paper still alive and kicking during a time when many have folded. I will respect and honor this grand tradition that is the backbone of Democracy.
Now, I have to close as I am still on deadline.