MILL CREEK — He used to give the scoop in front of a camera for viewers all over the world.
Now Phillip Yin gives it behind a counter, with eight flavors at the ready.
He went from journalism to gelato.
What’s up with that?
The new desk for Yin, a former national TV anchor, is the Newsroom, a cafe with coffee, gelato, wine and dancing.
He opened the Newsroom last summer in The Village by the Creek shopping center on 164th Street SE near Bothell-Everett Highway. The shop sits between Elliott Bay Pizza & Pub and Amazing Life Chiropractic & Wellness.
“I wanted to celebrate journalism and to have food,” he said. “This is the kind of place I’d want to work out of.”
Me, too. The counter cooler brims with Italian ice cream. Fancy coffee machines gush out caffeinated wonders. And, hey, there’s the wine.
If we had those things in our Herald newsroom, we’d never get a paper out. Or we’d get it out in record time.
On the wall are dozens of front pages from around the nation. There’s a framed page from The Daily Herald. (Perhaps this will make two.)
“All these events around the world have significant impact on who we are. Journalism transcends cultures and nationalities,” Yin said. “The front pages share the emotion of news events from around the world and how it impacts your local community.”
He offers a 10 percent discount for people in the news biz. “Anybody who works in or for journalism,” he said. “Could be a delivery person, writers, PR people, marketing.”
Yin, 43, grew up in Yakima, went to the University of Washington as an undergrad and Georgetown University for his MBA.
He was a business and political anchor for CNBC, Bloomberg TV and CCTV America, working in Seattle, Hong Kong and Washington, D.C.
Check out the Vimeo videos by Googling his name.
That’s Yin, in custom suits, silk ties and slick haircuts, interviewing world leaders with ease and confidence. He reported on Wall Street, the White House, the World Economic Forum in Switzerland and APEC, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.
He talked finance with former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Merritt “Hank” Paulson Jr. and France’s money minister, Christine Madeleine Odette Lagarde.
— Phillip Yin (@PhillipTKYin) April 3, 2014
Then, two years ago, at what seems the height of his career, he set aside his 50 dress shirts and 100 ties.
“I did 6,000 interviews and I felt, what does 6,001 mean… 6,002?” he said. “What is my path, unless I’m the next Wolf Blitzer or Anderson Cooper?”
Yin was covering politics in D.C. when he decided to return to Washington state with his wife and daughters. He felt a tug to come home.
“A big part was my father,” he said. “He was facing a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. I started wondering, Is it really worth being so far away? There I was, selfishly focusing on my career.”
Yin took two stabs at politics. He ran in the 2016 primary election as the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Washington. He was defeated, even with the catchy campaign slogan “Yin It to Win It.” In 2017, he lost in a bid for the Bellevue City Council, where he lives.
— Phillip Yin (@PhillipTKYin) June 27, 2016
The idea for the Newsroom was inspired by a trip to Italy with his oldest daughter.
“I admired the focus on family. There were little coffee shops. People were eating gelato and drinking coffee. I thought, ‘Wow, families are happy.’ I thought I could bring a part of that to the Pacific Northwest,” Yin said.
The gelato, which has less butterfat than ice cream, is from Snoqualmie Ice Cream in Maltby. Coffee beans are from Rococo Coffee of Kirkland. Wines are from Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville.
In addition to Mill Creek, Yin has two Newsrooms in Yakima. Investment partners are owner-operators of the shops.
Yin said he is not trying to be a Starbucks.
“It’s a local coffee shop,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with being a national coffee shop. They have their method and they’re very successful, and we have ours and we’re working on it. Our goal is to have a place where people can gather. It’s folks nearby and the vast majority of our business is word of mouth.”
The name Newsroom doesn’t exactly conjure up visions of gelato.
“The first time I didn’t know what it was,” said Mill Creek resident Tony Byrd, director of Teach For America-Washington.
Byrd was back on a recent weekday morning for the fourth time for an informal business meetup. “I like the setting,” he said. “It is quiet. You can focus and concentrate.”
It gets noisy other times. The Newsroom has free events such as Friday night salsa dancing, music Saturday and board games Sunday sessions. Dogs are welcome.
At the Newsroom in Mill Creek for #openmic night. Was working on my laptop until I heard this performance by Nick Balmores. Wow 👍👍 So this is what it feels like being a judge/coach on @The_VoiceUSA 😉 #MusicIsLife pic.twitter.com/BThAaU5D6X
— Pete Peng (@petepengx) February 11, 2018
Yin wants to open a Newsroom in Everett.
I know just the spot. In this newsroom. Across from my desk.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; email@example.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown.