By Julie Muhlstein Herald Columnist
A “hometown paper” plays a key role in the community.
Those are my thoughts, but I’m borrowing the words.
A wise and gracious woman shared them when I visited her Everett home in February 2001. It was the 100th anniversary of this newspaper. The Everett Daily Herald began publishing in 1901.
The subject of my centennial article was Jane Best, widow of Robert D. Best. He was publisher of The Everett Herald from 1939 until his death in 1976. Robert Best’s father James Best, his mother Gertrude Best, and his son Robert Best Jr. were also Herald publishers.
“Bob said his father always said people will always rely on local news,” Jane Best, then 84, said the day we met. She died in 2005.
What she said that day — that a local newspaper is key — is as true now as it was a dozen years ago, or a century ago.
Elections and local government, crime and justice, prep sports, school news and the arts, The Daily Herald brings it all home every day. And we are here — still here — to deliver a newspaper that’s been around for 112 years.
Wednesday was a hard day.
Ann McDaniel, senior vice president of the Washington Post Co., and Sound Publishing President Gloria Fletcher made the announcement in a room packed with Herald workers. Some may lose jobs. The newspaper will be printed at a Sound Publishing facility near Paine Field. The Herald building is up for sale.
From the newsroom’s drafty windows, I can look across W. Marine View Drive and see what remains of the Kimberly-Clark paper mill, now largely demolished.
People who spent long careers at Scott Paper Co. and Kimberly-Clark lost more than jobs. A workplace is much more than a paycheck. It is part of a worker’s identity and culture. And big changes are coming to our workplace.
But our story is not Kimberly-Clark’s story. In the end, there was no buyer for the Everett mill. There is a buyer for The Daily Herald.
And that is very good news. The newspaper will ultimately be printed at a different place. Fletcher told us so on Wednesday. But what’s key, as Mrs. Best said years ago, is that the newspaper will be printed.
Word of The Herald’s sale has stirred a lot of memories.
I first walked into The Herald in 1978. I was being interviewed for a summer internship. Bob Best Jr. was still publisher — his office was in an area that’s now our photo department. I got that summer job. Later that year, The Herald was sold to the Washington Post Co.
I was rehired at The Herald in 1981, the year the Sunday edition was started. I remember The Washington Post’s legendary publisher Katharine Graham visiting the paper. She once walked through our lunchroom and told a copy editor that his sandwich looked like a healthy lunch.
I remember major stories, and the dogged reporters who have covered them. A serial arsonist, a senator’s death, a new Navy base with an aircraft carrier, a population that has more than doubled in my years here — I remember so much, and so many talented people.
That Herald is still here.
The year 2001 brought not only The Herald’s centennial, but the retirement of its longtime publisher. Larry Hanson had been at the newspaper nearly half a century. I remember the uncertainty then. Walking into a Herald where Hanson wasn’t at the helm was something new, a next chapter.
What wasn’t new was how we did our jobs — and still do.
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460, firstname.lastname@example.org.