Darrington paper to cease publication in March

Joe Day is publishing his last newspaper.

For two years, he’s worked long days and longer nights gathering news to fill the Whitehorse Community News, a monthly newspaper with a small circulation base of about 2,000 readers in north Snohomish County.

The paper paid for itself with revenue from advertisements and a small number of out-of-area subscribers, but it didn’t pay for Day. After logging thousands of unpaid hours, the former electrician is screwing the cap back on his editor pen.

His doctor says it’s time to walk away from the stress. And Day — worn down from years of proofreading and layout deadlines — finally agrees.

“Despite the growing public interest, our economy has dictated that the paper cannot stand on its own,” Day wrote in a letter to subscribers this month.

He broke tough news in the letter: “I don’t have any money to pay back the unused portion of your subscription.”

So just like a growing number of larger newspapers across the country, Day’s tiny labor of love ends with a sad finale: the farewell issue.

The Whitehorse Community news will print for the last time in early March.

“It’ll be all right,” said Day, talking Tuesday afternoon from his home in Darrington. “I’m sad to see it go — and I’m really glad it’s going. It’s an incredible amount of work. It’s really draining.”

In his February issue, Day solicited other community members to step up and take over the paper’s publication. But so far, no one else seems to want to work for free, he said.

The paper’s mission statement is printed on the second page of its February issue, featuring a conspicuous use of the past-tense.

“The purpose of this newspaper was to provide a forum for discussion, a platform for inexpensive business advertising, a source for local information and a place for aspiring writers to be published.”

Day said the paper served a more personal purpose, too. A former union electrician, he studied graphic design at Everett Community College after an injury left him unable to work.

“But nobody wanted to hire a 53-year-old graphic designer who had no practical experience,” Day said. “That was quite a blow for me. I had to do something with my time.”

He started publishing after a friend suggested he put his graphic design experience to work.

The paper never had a Web site, and little trace of its reporting shows up in online searches.

“(The Web site) never materialized, and I didn’t see any reason for it anyway,” Day said. “It’s just for Darrington, a way to give folks around here a voice.”

Know a small business you think we should write about? Contact Herald writer Amy Rolph at arolph@heraldnet.com.

Return to The Storefront

More in Herald Business Journal

Frontier Communications seeks March bankruptcy, sources say

The company reportedly has $356 million of debt payments coming due March 15.

Washington dairies struggle after trade wars and low prices

People are drinking less milk, but “It’s very hard to turn a cow off,” jokes one Stanwood dairyman.

A nuclear research facility is about to open in Everett

TerraPower, an energy firm founded by Bill Gates, will open a 65,000-square-foot lab near Paine Field.

What you need to know before 2020 Census starts in Alaska

The Census Bureau starts the head count in The Last Frontier state by going door-to-door in January.

Boeing has a newly discovered software problem on the 737 Max

The issue concerns a program that verifies whether monitors tracking key systems are working properly.

Southwest joins rivals in again delaying Boeing jet’s return

The airline will drop about 330 flights each weekday from its normal 4,000 daily flights.

Starbucks, home of the $4 latte, is moving into poor areas

The company will open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the U.S.

Changing Boeing’s corporate culture won’t be easy

Systemic errors can sometimes be very difficult to track down and eradicate.

Microsoft: ‘carbon-negative’ by 2030 even for supply chain

The company previously said its data centers would be 60% powered by renewable power by the end of 2019.

Most Read