The deadline is now


I’ve been a media junkie since childhood and got my first daily newspaper job, covering high school sports, when I was 17. I was terrible! The cranky old editor yelled at me a lot. But I got hooked, and I got better. The next two summers I did vacation fill-in, covering a city council and checking the police blotter.

That was more than 40 years ago. Over the decades I’ve worked in five other newsrooms as a reporter, editor, graphic designer and photographer. (I also worked for four radio stations as a disc jockey when I was in my early 20s, but that’s a whole other story.)

I grew up in Ohio and Michigan, then went to Whitman College in Walla Walla. After graduating, I worked at the Tri-City Herald, The Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly and Crosscut before I landed at The Daily Herald about 10 years ago. After various editing jobs here, I’m now the digital news editor, in charge of the website.

I was always an early adopter. Remember Delphi and CompuServe? I was online in the 1980s. I haven’t read an inked newspaper in many years. The fact I am allergic to newsprint has nothing to do with it! I simply love the portability and immediacy and efficiency of a digital news product. We baby-boomers don’t get enough credit for pioneering instant gratification.

I love the fact that the deadline is almost always right now. The rapid pace of constantly updating news online suits me. I am pretty competitive when it comes to news, and if someone reports something before we do, I get a tummy ache.

And we do try to be first with Snohomish County news, but we are also careful. Journalism is a discipline of verification, and sometimes it’s best to slow down. While some news lends itself to fast work, other stories need time. Sometimes we spend weeks or months gathering information and figuring out how best to explain it. It’s not always an efficient process. We are not making widgets here! When you pay for news, you pay for us to check things out, and sometimes there’s just not a story there.

Speaking of checking things out, here’s a question you should ask yourself when you’re thinking about news: “How do I know that?” Did you hear it from some anonymous person on Reddit, or did a professional journalist make some calls or track down some documents to verify it?

One thing about me: I am a rusty pilot who covered Boeing for a few years, and I even worked there for six months between news jobs. Now I am licensed to fly drones. There are two of us on staff who hold FAA remote pilot licenses — me and photographer Olivia Vanni. We are using drones more and more for news coverage.

My affinity for Snohomish and Island counties goes way back to the 1970s. I spent my first Thanksgiving in Washington at the home of a college friend near Snohomish. And I spent a lot of time visiting another friend on Whidbey Island. His mother was a devoted reader of The Herald. Looking across the water from Langley, I was told The Herald was printed over there, in Everett. I could see the smokestacks. Those are now gone, and I am now there.

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