Musings – on the editor's mind
August 9, 2023
This really happened last week, though instead of it being on a TV or movie screen the set was the office of the Weekly News and the players were the real-life Rhonda, design and layout editor, and Kurt, production manager for the Weekly News. The truer-than-life star coming in was Pamela, her real name, and her 12-year-old daughter, visiting from Seattle.
She walked in the door and without being cued asked, “Do you have a newspaper for sale?” and put a five dollar bill on Kurt’s desk and would not take change. “Keep it,” she said. “I work at Microsoft.” Then, “I stop in small town newspaper offices all the time. I love small town newspapers.” So I, owner of a small town newspaper, which is for sale, the business that is, stood up, introduced myself, and said, of course, “This newspaper is for sale. The whole thing.”
Turns out Pamela worked for the Seattle Times for 10 years as a reporter and a columnist before taking a job with Microsoft some 11 years ago.
“My daughter loves La Conner,” Pamela told us. “I would love to have her grow up here, while I run the newspaper.”
“Well,” I said, “I just printed my editorial for proofing. It is titled ‘Weekly newspaper for sale.’ Take it with you. Take all the July issues with you. There is a story on a KUOW radio reporter doing a story on the Weekly News being for sale.”
I can’t say for sure, but maybe she had tears in her eyes. I did, for sure.
Pamela and her daughter leave. Corny as I am, I say, “This would be a miracle. It is out of a Frank Capra movie if it happens.” Kurt and Rhonda offer encouragement: “Maybe she means it. Maybe she will stop back.”
Wednesday goes by. Thursday is past. No Pamela.
Friday morning I get this email:
“Ken & team:
“We are wrapping up our summer getaway to Bow. I’ve spent several enjoyable afternoons lounging on a balcony, reading every July edition of the La Conner Weekly News cover to cover. What a gem you have in Bill Reynolds – he can write anything, and well. And who doesn’t love a small town police blotter? The subheads were half the fun.
“You have a great newspaper. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to entertain a daydream of moving to a delightful seaside town to become a small-town newspaper editor, teaching my daughter to be a cub reporter, and upholding the noble profession of independent community journalism! (I posted about this on social media and a dozen ex-journo friends said, ‘I’ll go in on it with you!’ If only.)
“Best of luck in finding a great buyer to keep an independent press alive and thriving in La Conner. I will be thinking positive thoughts for you!
Hopefully this is not the end of the story of this weekly newspaper or it being for sale.