T N W

TWN
The Washington Newspaper
October 2010 1
THE
WASHINGTON
NEWSPAPER
PRSRT STD
U.S. Postage
PAID
Seattle, WA
Permit No. 422
Vol. 95, No.10
October 2010
Journal of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association and Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington • www.wnpa.com
Times, Herald top Blethen winners
T
The Associated Press
he Seattle Times won firstplace honors four times
and the Tri-City Herald
won three first-place awards in
the 2010 C.B. Blethen Memorial
Awards for distinguished newspaper reporting.
The annual awards were established in 1977 in honor of
Blethen, publisher of The Seattle
Times from 1915 to 1941. The
awards were presented Sept.
16 at the annual meeting of the
Pacific Northwest Newspaper
Association in Portland, Ore.
PNNA daily newspaper members in Washington, Oregon,
Montana, Idaho, Utah, Alaska,
Alberta and British Columbia
are eligible to enter the contest,
which is administered completely
independent from The Seattle
Times by PNNA. Judges are top
news executives from respected
daily newspapers outside the
PNNA area and are not affiliated
with PNNA member groups.
Winners are chosen in two circulation divisions. All entrants,
regardless of circulation, compete
for the special Debby Lowman
Award for distinguished reporting of consumer affairs, which
honors The Times consumer
reporter who died of cancer in
1978.
Daily Record
publisher gets
post in Idaho
BLETHEN WINNERS
DIVERSITY REPORTING
Under 50,000 circulation
First: The Herald & News, Klamath Falls, Ore.,
by Ryan Pfeil, “Intensive parenting” series.
Over 50,000 circulation
First: The Seattle Times, for a series of stories
on diversity by The Seattle Times staff.
Second: The Seattle Times, Jerry Large
columns.
DEADLINE REPORTING
Under 50,000 circulation
First: Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, by Paula
Horton and Kristin M. Kraemer, “Two young
girls in critical condition/Schoolmates
struggle with death”
Second: Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, by Paula
Horton and Kristin M. Kraemer, “Stabbing
kills Pasco mother”
Over 50,000 circulation
First: The Seattle Times staff, “Four Police
Officers Slain”
Second: The Spokesman-Review, Spokane,
Wash., by Kevin Graman, Sara Leaming,
Jody Lawrence-Turner, “Field trip for escapee
flies in face of ruling”
ENTERPRISE REPORTING
Under 50,000 circulation
First: Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, by Paula
Horton, “Bust gone bad/Grower recounts
drug bust/Changing hands/Sniffing out toplevel dealers” series
Second: The Bozeman Daily Chronicle,
Bozeman, Mont., by Daniel Person, Michael
Gibney and Sean Sperry, “Return of the wolf”
See BLETHENS, page 3
A WHALE OF A SHOT
M
att Davison, publisher
of the Daily Record in
Ellensburg, has been
named the new president and
publisher of the Idaho PressTribune in Nampa. His first day
as president will be Oct. 4.
Pioneer Newspapers President
and CEO Mike Gugliotto announced Davison’s appointment
Sept. 13.
Davison succeeds Rick
Weaver, who accepted a job earlier this year in Kalispell, Mont.
“My family and I are extremely excited to return to Canyon
County,” said Davison, who
worked as advertising director in
Nampa between 2003 and 2006.
“We love it there and can’t wait
to reconnect with old friends and
co-workers.”
Davison and his wife,
Kimberly, have three daughters
ranging in ages from 7 to 1, and
will move to the Nampa area.
“Matt is a dynamic leader who
will help the Idaho Press-Tribune
build on many successes that
have made it an outstanding community newspaper,” Gugliotto
said. “He’s made many contriSee IDAHO, page 3
Chris Cook/Forks Forum
Chris Cook, editor of the Forks Forum, entered this shot of Quileute Tribal School children greeting whales in
the 2010 Washington Better Newspaper Contest General News Category, Circulation Group II. The winners in all
divisions will be announced Oct. 1 during the BNC Awards Dinner at WNPA’s 123rd Annual Convention at the
Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel.
New publisher selected in Shelton
R
ichard Kennedy, a 20year media veteran, has
been named publisher
of the Shelton-Mason County
Journal.
Kennedy, 45, has worked in
television, radio and newspapers.
His career in community journalism has taken him across the
country from Mississippi and
Louisiana to Idaho, Oregon and
California.
After graduating from
University of Louisiana in 1988,
he joined the Ouachita Citizen
of West Monroe, La., then the
largest-circulation weekly newspaper in the state. He was hired
as sports editor, and in 1992
won sports reporting and sports
photography awards in the state
newspaper contest.
Later he joined the Bastrop
(La.) Daily Enterprise, where
he was city beat reporter and in
1997 won a state news award for
coverage of a mill explosion.
A move to Mississippi landed
Kennedy as editor and publisher
of the twice-weekly Yazoo City
Herald.
Later Kennedy moved West,
and in 2002 was named publisher of the Hermiston Herald, a
twice-weekly in Oregon.
Two years later, he was editor
and publisher of the Blackfoot
(Idaho) Morning News. He
served on the local Chamber
board and was named finalist
for 2004 Business Person of the
Year by the Idaho State Journal
for his commentaries and advocacy of economic development in
Southeastern Idaho.
Before moving to Shelton, for
about five years Kennedy worked
as an accountant and as a managing editor in the San Francisco
Bay Area.
Kennedy succeeds Dan
Mancuso as the Journal publisher (see related story on page 3).
Owings gets promotion
to Bellingham top spot
T
Bellingham Herald
he McClatchy Company
named Mark Owings as
president and publisher
of the Bellingham Herald on
Sept. 23.
A 12-year employee of the
Herald, Owings has been the
newspaper’s top finance executive since 2004 and has been instrumental in several initiatives
to transform the newspaper’s
business operations.
The publisher’s job had been
vacant since August 2009, when
former Bellingham publisher
Glen Nardi was named publisher of McClatchy’s Sun Herald
newspaper in Biloxi, Miss.
“We’re delighted to find the
next leader of the Bellingham
Herald within McClatchy and
within the Herald itself,” said
Gary Pruitt, McClatchy’s chairman and chief executive officer.
“Mark believes in the paper, its
future and its place in the community.”
McClatchy purchased the
See OWINGS, page 3
October 2010 2
The Washington Newspaper
State plays hide-and-seek with government salaries
H
ere’s what we can tell
you: From 2008 to
2009 – the heart of
the Great Recession – average
annual salaries for private sector
employees in Pierce County
grew by 0.7 percent. That’s
not surprising, given that the
county’s consumer price index
grew by only 0.6 percent during
that same period.
Here’s what else we can
tell you: From 2008 to 2009,
average annual salaries for
employees of local government
agencies in Pierce County grew
by 4.8 percent. On average, each
local government employee
took home $2,290 more in 2009
than in 2008. On average, each
private-sector employee took
home $277 more.
Here’s what we can’t tell
you – at least not yet: Which
of Pierce County’s 81 local
government agencies have held
salaries close to the local rate of
inflation and which have not.
We can’t tell you because the
state won’t tell us.
This information is critical
in the coming weeks as local
government agencies build their
2011 budgets in the face of
declining tax revenues. One way
is to raise taxes. Another way
is to lay off employees and cut
government services. Another
way could be
to keep a lid
on salaries,
saving both
jobs and
services.
We
have been
looking for a
comprehensive Karen
and consistent Peterson
executive editor,
way to
The News Tribune
compare
Tacoma
the growth
in private
salaries with the growth in
government salaries. We found
it in a quarterly wage report by
the state Employment Security
Department. It is current
through the end of 2009 and
provides a breakdown for Pierce
County.
The report lists average
salaries for 18 “industries”
including government, which
is further broken down into
federal, state and local levels.
These category averages allowed
us to calculate the percentages
above.
Next, we requested a
breakdown of average wage data
for each of Pierce County’s 81
local government “reporting
units,” even offering to pay for
the data retrieval. That’s when
we ran into trouble.
Officers:
President: Paul Archipley, Edmonds
Beacon, Mukilteo Beacon ● Second
Vice President: Jana Stoner, Northern
Kittitas County Tribune, Cle Elum ● Past
President: Sue Ellen Riesau, Sequim
Gazette, Forks Forum ●
Secretary: Bill Will, WNPA, Seattle
Trustees:
Desiree Cahoon, Lake Stevens Journal
● Mike Dillon, Pacific Publishing Co.,
Seattle ● Donna Etchey, North Kitsap
Herald, Poulsbo ● Bill Forhan, NCW
Media, Leavenworth ● Keven Graves,
Nisqually Valley News, Yelm ● John
Knowlton, Green River Community
College, Auburn ● Dan Mancuso, SheltonMason County Journal ● Lori Maxim,
Sound Publishing ● Stephen McFadden,
Ritzville-Adams County Journal ● Tim
Robinson, Robinson Newspapers
Staff:
General Manager: Bill Will ● Editor/
Manager of Member Services: Mae
Waldron
Officers:
President: W. Stacey Cowles, The
Spokesman-Review ● Vice President:
Mike Shepard, Yakima Herald-Republic
Board:
Rufus Friday, Tri-City Herald ● Matt
Davison, Daily Record, Ellensburg ●
Jill Mackie, The Seattle Times ● Dennis
Waller, Chronicle, Centralia
Executive Director: Rowland Thompson
THE WASHINGTON NEWSPAPER is
the official publication of the Washington
Newspaper Publishers Association. It is
published monthly by WNPA, 12354 30th
Ave NE, Seattle WA 98125, phone (206)
634-3838. E-mail: [email protected];
URL: www.wnpa.com, in conjunction with
Allied Daily Newspapers of Washington,
P.O. Box 29, Olympia, WA 98507, (360)
943-9960. E-mail: [email protected]
Individual employer salary
data is proprietary and therefore
private, Employment Security
said, even for public agencies.
The department cited federal
guidelines and a state law
prohibiting the release of those
records.
Go ask each of the 81
agencies directly for the
information, they suggested. The
only problem was, they wouldn’t
give us a list of the agencies.
That was private, too, they said.
Yet further down in the state
law is a clause that says the
department can release wage
information with the employers’
consent. Employment Security
didn’t tell us that, but the state
public records ombudsman did.
Because Employment
Security knows who those
employing units are – and we
don’t – we asked the department
to seek that consent.
The communications director
assured us: “the Public Records
Office will manage the waiver
requests and communicate with
the Unemployment Insurance
staff to arrange for the data
queries.”
“In many cases, they’ll
probably have to figure out
who has the authority to sign
such a waiver,” she wrote. “I
expect that phase alone could
take weeks.” And further: “The
employers are not obligated to
respond to our waiver request
– assuming they know whom in
their organization has authority
to sign a waiver.”
We asked: “From whom
in a given organization will
your agency accept a waiver?
Couldn’t you share that with
the reporting agency?” No one
responded.
At the department’s
suggestion, we sent a list
of agencies we were most
interested in – the nine
largest government employers
– presuming they were on the
secret list. That was Sept. 15.
We asked the agency to tell us
by Sept. 22 what records it had
received permission to release.
We also asked for a log of the
department’s communications
with local government agencies.
We wanted to know whether and
how each responded.
On Sept. 17, Employment
Security declared an apparent
change of heart.
State law “does not obligate
the department to obtain waivers
from individuals and employing
units on behalf of third party
requestors,” their e-mail said.
“In our view, for the department
to go beyond this interpretation
by trying to obtain waivers
would not be appropriate.
Individuals and employing units
could very well construe that
our agency is pressuring them to
release the information or that
our department endorses the
third party requestor obtaining
the requested information.” The
department “will not be seeking
waivers from the identified
agencies or any other Pierce
County government agencies in
response to your public records
request.”
We aren’t stopping there.
We’ll try to figure out who’s on
the secret list of 81 and whom in
each agency to ask for the wage
data. If any of you are reading
this and wish to volunteer your
data, please send it to my e-mail,
[email protected]
com.
We’re also asking agencies
about employee benefit costs
and planned service cuts and
other budgetary information you
have a right to know. And we
plan to ask the state Sunshine
Committee and others to
reconsider a provision of state
law that apparently prevents
members of the public from
getting information about the
salaries they are paying.
Reprinted with permission.
Free speech in our national parks
(I)ndividuals or small
A
groups, at least
nyone who has vacationed at a
national park knows one of the
real challenges is not to leave any
necessities at home.
As we marked Constitution Day
on Sept. 17, it was worth noting that a
federal appeals court recently decided
that one of the things that automatically
comes along with you is your
constitutional right to free speech.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
for the District of Columbia has ruled
in favor of a Minnesota man who was
stopped from handing out religious
materials at Mount Rushmore National
Memorial. But the decision will affect
parts of all of our 391 national parks.
Ironically, Michael Boardley was
in a designated “free-speech zone” at
Mount Rushmore when he began offering
his fliers. The National Park Service
established the zones and required
anyone using them to obtain a permit,
citing safety and security as well as a
goal of keeping the national parks true to
their original purpose.
The appellate court decision Aug. 6
applied some commonsense reasoning
along with the law in balancing
restrictions on speech and religious
liberty against the expectation of relative
solitude in a nature or history park.
First, the court decided that the
same permit rules ought not to apply to
individuals or small groups as apply to
large demonstrations or gatherings. A
lone individual such as Boardley, the
court held, represents a much smaller
danger to peace, safety and tranquility.
Second, the court noted “common
sense tells us that (national parks) are not
all identical” and that one rule probably
won’t fit all. Although the court conceded
it couldn’t evaluate the situation in every
park from a First Amendment standpoint,
it said the NPS-established “free-speech
zones” did provide a common standard.
The ruling does not automatically
throw open the vistas of every national
park or monument to protesters and
pamphleteers – but it does say that, at
least within areas already set aside for
such activities, requiring everyone to get
a permit needlessly
chills free speech.
Admitting that some
people or groups may
cause problems for
an agency charged
with maintaining the
peace and tranquility
of wilderness areas
and such, the court
Gene
said nonetheless that
Policinski
vice president/
“many will not, and
executive
the government has
director,
not explained why
First Amendment
those engaged in free
Center
expression are more
likely to be problematic
than anyone else.
“The Constitution does not tolerate
regulations that, while serving their
purported aims, prohibit a wide range of
activities that do not interfere with the
Government’s objectives,” the court said.
As for Park Service regulations that
“target much more than necessary,” the
D.C. Circuit cited some examples:
• “If a Girl Scout leader musters her
scouts onto a pavilion in a ‘free speech
area’ and … proceeds to lecture them
about the effects of global warming, she
will have conducted both a ‘meeting’ and
an ‘assembly’ for which a permit would
have been required.”
• “An elementary school teacher who
leads eight students on an excursion …
and within a ‘free speech area’ shows off
her best imitation of a traditional Navajo
dance presumably has hosted an unlawful
‘demonstration’.”
• “If a believer in Creationism visits (a
fossil bed monument) and, within a ‘free
speech area,’ quietly hands out literature
disputing the theory of evolution, he is
guilty of ‘distribut[ing] … printed matter’
without a permit.”
The court also posed the question of
whether it would violate the current rule
if a person visiting a park came upon a
permitted anti-war demonstration and
then chose to put on a “Support the
Troops” button.
All of this speech is banned unless
a permit is first acquired, even though
within free-speech
zones, ought to have
wide latitude to
speak, be the speech
spontaneous or
planned, and even to
speak anonymously,
if they wish . . .
none of it remotely threatens any of the
government’s interests,” the court said.
In throwing out the current regulation
but effectively inviting the government to
rewrite one applying just to large groups,
the court did not satisfy those who see
parks as public forums where any speech
or demonstration should be allowed
without government review.
But the court’s decision does set out
the idea that individuals or small groups,
at least within free-speech zones, ought
to have wide latitude to speak, be the
speech spontaneous or planned, and
even to speak anonymously if they wish,
without having to identify themselves on
a permit application.
At Mount Rushmore, I would think
such common sense applied to freedom
would bring a bit of a smile to the famous
stone faces.
Gene Policinski is vice president
and executive director of the First
Amendment Center, 1207 18th Ave. S.,
Nashville, Tenn., 37212. Read more on
the Web: www.firstamendmentcenter.
org or contact him by e-mail at
[email protected]
October 2010 3
The Washington Newspaper
Mancuso in Oregon
D
aniel Mancuso, former publisher of the
Shelton-Mason County
Journal, and Kevan Moore
have bought the Illinois Valley
News in Cave Junction, Ore.
Mancuso had been publisher
of the Journal from June 2008
through early this summer.
In fall 2008 he joined
the board of Washington
Newspaper Publishers
Association.
He is serving as publisher
and advertising manager of the
News, and Moore will contin-
ue his work as a reporter and
editor in Shelton.
The News has 3,000 circulation, and primarily covers the communities of Cave
Junction, Kerby, O’Brien,
Takilma and Holland in
Josephine County. It was first
published in 1935.
The sellers, Bob and Jan
Rodriguez, had been publishers for the past 25 years.
Grimes and Co. handled the
transaction, which closed Sept.
1. Terms were not revealed.
WNPA 123rd ANNUAL
CONVENTION
SEPT. 30-OCT. 2 •
WENATCHEE CENTER HOTEL
MAJOR SPONSOR:
PRESENTING SPONSORS:
EVENT SPONSORS:
OWINGS
from page 1
Herald in 2006 as part of its acquisition of Knight Ridder Inc.,
which had purchased the newspaper from Gannett Company, Inc.
in 2005.
The McClatchy Company
is the third largest newspaper
company in the United States,
publishing 30 daily newspapers,
including The News Tribune in
Tacoma, the Sacramento Bee and
the Miami Herald.
Owings, 39, joined the newspaper in 1998 as a staff accountant. He was named assistant
controller in 1999 and promoted
to his current post, finance director, in 2004. He played a key role
in restructuring the newspaper’s
business operations, including
the conversion of financial systems when McClatchy acquired
the paper in 2006, the sale and
leaseback of the newspaper’s
downtown building and the outsourcing of printing to the nearby
Skagit Publishing.
“I look forward to the challenges ahead for the Herald as
we continue to evolve into a hybrid print and digital news source
for Whatcom County,” Owings
said.
“Thanks to many of Mark’s
contributions, the Bellingham
BLETHENS
Herald has positioned itself
well by shedding legacy costs
while growing its digital business,” said Bob Weil, McClatchy
vice president, operations, who
was in Bellingham to make
the announcement to the staff.
“As someone who has lived
most of his life in and around
Bellingham, Mark is committed
to maintaining a strong, vibrant
Bellingham Herald that’s able
to produce quality journalism
and serve the community to the
fullest.”
“I’m delighted to continue
to work with Mark,” said Julie
Shirley, executive editor. “His
steady leadership and local
knowledge is a tremendous asset
for The Herald.”
Owings was born in Portel,
Brazil, moved to Woodland,
Maine, at age 2 and then to
Bellingham at age 13. He graduated from Bellingham’s Western
Washington University in 1994
with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
“My family and I have called
Whatcom County home for most
of our lives,” Owings said. “We
love the community. I feel very
lucky to live and work in a place
where the people are passionate
about so many things, including
the daily newspaper.
“It’s no secret that the last
couple of years have not been
easy, but our talented employees
continue to come to work with a
positive approach and an eagerness to create quality products
each and every day,” he said.”
I’m honored to work alongside
them.”
Owings and his wife, Ireneé,
have three children: Malcolm, 18,
Alex, 13, and Catlyn, 12.
IDAHO
from page 1
butions to our company, both
as publisher at the Ellensburg
Daily Record and as director of
Interactive Media for Pioneer.
“The Idaho Press-Tribune is
an outstanding community newspaper,” Davison said. “The staff
is innovative, passionate and
deeply dedicated to producing
quality journalism every day.”
Davison started his newspaper career at the Bend Bulletin
in 1995. He was the advertising
manager at The Mail Tribune
and Ashland Daily Tidings in
Medford, Ore., before he came to
the Idaho Press-Tribune in 2003.
from page 1
Over 50,000 circulation
First: The Oregonian, Portland,
Ore., by Don Colburn, Randy
L. Rasmussen and Eric
Baker, “Replacing Chrissy’s
face”
Second: The SpokesmanReview, by Becky Kramer,
“Healthy concern”
FEATURE WRITING
Under 50,000 circulation
First: The Tri-City Herald,
Kennewick, by Sara
Schilling,”Learning how to
live”
Second: The Yakima-Herald
Republic, by Phil Ferolito,
“Burial the natural way in
cemetery near Goldendale”
Over 50,000 circulation
First: The Salt Lake Tribune,
Salt Lake City, Utah, by Julia
Lyon, “A missing peace”
Second: The Oregonian, by
Larry Bingham, “Making a
difference means making a
tough choice” series
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING
Under 50,000 circulation
First: The Herald and News
staff, Klamath Falls, “Gangs
on the rise”
Second: The Herald and
News, Klamath Falls, by
Ryan Pfeil, Jill Aho and The
Herald and News Staff,
“Living on the edge”
Over 50,000 circulation
First: The Seattle Times, by
Michael J. Berens, “Seniors
for sale”
Second: The SpokesmanReview, by Jody LawrenceTurner, “The ‘golden goose’
fund”
Debby Lowman Award for
Distinguished Reporting of
Consumer Affairs
First: The Seattle Times, by
Susan Kelleher, “Snow job”
Second: The Oregonian, by
Grant Butler, “Going vegan,
in a fashion”
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October 2010 4
The Washington Newspaper
OPEN ACCESS & LEGAL ISSUES
Court orders
partial release
of arrest files
A
Tri-City Herald
Benton County judge
decided Aug. 25 to
release portions of
police investigative records in
a felony child molestation case
involving former Prosser Mayor
Linda Lusk.
After an hourlong hearing,
Superior Court Judge Carrie
Runge ruled the Tri-City Herald
should be provided copies of
police reports, the summary of
a 14-year-old boy’s statement to
police and witness statements to
police, with information blacked
out that identifies the alleged
victim and potential witnesses.
She said the other documents
requested will be sealed until
trial begins to ensure that Lusk,
49, can have a fair trial.
The Herald had requested
public records from the Benton
County Sheriff’s Department,
the Prosser Police Department
and the Prosser School District
following the filing of the felony
child molestation charge against
Lusk in early June.
When her defense attorney
resisted the release of much
of the investigative record, the
newspaper’s attorney, Cheryl
Adamson, asked for the court
review.
Court records say Lusk, who
See BENTON, page 5
Times asks court to open police files
T
The Associated Press
he Seattle Times has asked
the state Supreme Court
to release police files from
last year’s fatal shootings of four
Pierce County police officers,
saying there’s no evidence the
documents would jeopardize fair
trials for six people accused of
helping the shooter.
But on Sept. 14 one of those
defendants strongly disputed
The Times’ argument, saying the
constitutional right to a fair trial
far outweighs any right to public
access of government records
under state law.
The case centers on the
November killing of four
Lakewood police officers
gunned down during a coffee
break. The shooter, ex-convict
Maurice Clemmons, was shot
and killed two days later by a
Seattle officer amid a massive
manhunt.
The Times is seeking more
than 2,000 pages of police records from the case. The Pierce
County sheriff’s office was ready
to turn over the reports, photos
and other documents, but the
defendants accused of aiding
Clemmons requested the material
be withheld from public view.
A Pierce County Superior
Court judge agreed, finding that
public access to the files could
hurt the defendants’ chances for
fair trials.
Another judge later sealed
records from the completed trial
of Clemmons’ sister, LaTanya
Clemmons, who was sentenced
to five years in prison for giving
criminal assistance.
The Times and other news
organizations objected, and
the battle is now at the state
Supreme Court. It’s not clear
when the court might rule, but
decisions typically take several
weeks or more to develop.
Times attorney Eric Stahl
said Pierce County Superior
Court Judge Susan Serko’s ruling to keep the police files secret
improperly relied on the mere
chance that the information could
have a future effect on a fair trial.
“There is no evidence that
discussion of any of the records
at issue — much less all of them
— would imperil the fairness of
the trial proceeding,” Stahl said.
The judge should have shown
an effort to weigh the defendants’ rights with the public’s
right to track government ac-
tions, Stahl argued.
In response, an attorney
for one man accused of aiding Clemmons said Serko was
correct in carefully guarding
against any possible harm to a
defendant’s constitutional right
to a fair trial.
“They’re not asking this court
to order Judge Serko to engage
in a process she didn’t engage
in,” attorney Greg Link said.
“She engaged in a process. They
clearly don’t agree with the outcome of that process.”
Link was representing Darcus
Allen, who has pleaded not
guilty to four counts of aggravated first-degree murder, which
could carry the death penalty.
Allen is accused of driving
Maurice Clemmons to and from
the crime scene.
King county judge shields reporter’s notes
A
The Seattle Times
King County judge
on Aug. 20 declined a
defense request to subpoena a Seattle Times reporter’s
notes from two interviews with
Christopher Monfort, who is accused of the ambush-slaying of a
Seattle police officer in October.
Defense attorney Suzanne Lee
Elliott sought to have Superior
Court Judge Ronald Kessler issue a subpoena directing the reporter, Jonathan Martin, to turn
over his interview notes.
Elliott told Kessler in court
she didn’t know what was in
the notes but considered them
“highly relevant” to the defense’s
case. Monfort’s defense team
also has voiced concerns Martin
will be called as a witness for
the prosecution.
The Seattle Times opposed the
request, citing the state’s 2007
“reporters’ shield law,” which
limits the ability to subpoena a
journalist’s notes. Times attor-
ney Eric Stahl said in court that
Martin will not be a witness for
the prosecution.
At Monfort’s invitation,
Martin interviewed him twice at
the King County Jail for a story
that ran July 25.
Monfort is charged with one
count of aggravated murder
— and could face the death penalty — in the fatal shooting of
Officer Timothy Brenton and the
wounding of Brenton’s partner,
Britt Sweeney, on Halloween
night. Monfort also is accused of
firebombing four police vehicles
Oct. 22.
On Nov. 6, three Seattle homicide detectives confronted
Monfort outside his Tukwila
apartment. Charging documents
say he twice aimed a handgun at
officers before police shot him,
which left Monfort paralyzed.
Editor’s note: Early last month
King County Prosecutor Dan
Satterberg announced he will seek
the death penalty for Monfort.
October 2010 5
The Washington Newspaper
Granite Falls Herald-Republic chalks up a victory
settlement
buries records A
Yakima Herald-Republic
G
The Herald, Everett
ranite Falls Police Chief Tony
Domish will resign under a
settlement approved by the City
Council late on Sept. 15.
Under the agreement, Domish, who has
been on paid administrative leave since
April 23, will receive health insurance
and retirement benefits for the next eight
months and all remaining sick and vacation pay.
The city has agreed to drop an internal
investigation of Domish, and the police
chief has agreed not to pursue a lawsuit
against the city, according to the settlement.
Domish has served as the city’s police
chief since June 1, 2006. Both Domish
and Mayor Haroon Saleem have accused
each other of improper conduct.
The Snohomish County Sheriff’s
Office, at the city’s request, conducted
and concluded an investigation into the
chief’s behavior. A reason for the city’s
investigation has never been announced.
The city’s attorney has not released the
document from the now-closed sheriff’s
office investigation.
“For the benefit of all parties and the
city of Granite Falls, the parties have
reached a settlement agreement,” the document reads. “This settlement represents
an alternative to costly and protracted
litigation.”
The City Council voted 3-1 to authorize Saleem to sign the settlement.
Council members Elizabeth Adams, Josh
Golston and Matt Hartman voted in favor
while Councilman Tom FitzGerald voted
against the motion. A seat on the council
remains vacant.
Domish could not be reached for a
comment. He must sign the settlement for
it to take effect.
The dispute between Saleem and the
chief has some roots in a decision the City
Council and former mayor made last year,
after the November election. Although
Saleem would not be sworn into his position until the new year, he wanted the
council to postpone renewing a contract
with Domish until he was on board.
The council approved Domish’s contract anyway.
“They pretty much rammed it down
my throat,” he said. “I tried my best for
months to work with this guy, but he
wasn’t cooperative and really willing to
work with me, and that’s why the investigation started.”
Saleem said that he would prefer to
have seen the city’s part of the investigation completed, but expected to “reluctantly sign” the settlement agreement after
attorneys finalized the document. He does
expect the investigation to be eventually
released to the public, he said.
“My preference was to have this investigation completed so the public and
everybody would know what actually
happened,” Saleem said. “The settlement
is going to leave many questions unanswered.”
He added that he does not believe the
council should have approved some terms
of the settlement, such as giving Domish
288 hours of sick pay or giving up the
city’s right to contest any unemployment
compensation Domish may receive.
“Some council members are not watching the taxpayers’ money,” he said.
In an unofficial letter of resignation included in the settlement Domish said his
years of serving as the city’s police chief
were a “personal and professional honor.”
“I recognize that there is a deep political divide in the city of Granite Falls,
and I resign because I believe it is in the
best interest of the citizens of the city
of Granite Falls to move forward with a
united local government and without division,” he wrote.
state appeals court has sided
with the Yakima HeraldRepublic in its ongoing quest for
access to $2 million in court-appointed
attorney billing records in a 2005
double-murder case.
In a 3-0 ruling on Aug. 19, a Division
III Court of Appeals panel in Spokane
said Yakima County Superior Court
Judge James Lust was correct in
offering to unseal the records pertaining
to Mario Gil Mendez, one of two
defendants in the case.
Mendez’s attorneys, however, had
redacted, or blacked out, large portions
of billing records on the grounds such
redactions were necessary to protect
attorney work product and other
privileged information.
After the Herald-Republic
complained the redactions were heavyhanded, Lust offered to double-check.
Mendez’s lawyers then won a stay
barring release of the material while
they appealed the decision.
“The trial court accurately assessed
the situation,” Acting Chief Judge Kevin
M. Korsmo wrote. “The identity of an
attorney’s client and the fees charged
for representation are not privileged
information. Thus, no privilege attached
to the billing records themselves.”
Mendez’s lawyers were not available
for comment, and the immediate effect
of the ruling was not clear.
Sarah Wixson, a lawyer for the
Herald-Republic, predicted Mendez’s
lawyers would seek another stay
pending appeal to the Washington
Supreme Court, which is already
considering a related appeal by
Mendez’s co-defendant.
Even so, she called the ruling “a good
day for transparency.”
“It’s taken us a long time to get
here, and we’ve got a long ways to go,”
she said, “but it’s a step in the right
direction, that’s for sure.”
The newspaper is seeking billing
records submitted by court-appointed
attorneys for Mendez and co-defendant
Jose Luis Sanchez Jr., who are now
serving lengthy prison sentences for
the February 2005 shooting deaths of
21-year-old Ricky Causor and his 3year-old daughter, Mya, during a home
invasion robbery in Yakima.
Taxpayer-funded defense costs in
the case totaled $560,000 for Mendez
and $1.5 million for Sanchez, who was
convicted of aggravated first-degree
murder and sentenced to life in prison
without parole. Mendez pleaded guilty
to first-degree murder and testified
against Sanchez in exchange for a 30year sentence.
In its ruling, the appeals court said
Lust correctly allowed the HeraldRepublic to intervene in the case, noting
the newspaper waited to do so until after
Mendez had already pleaded guilty.
“We believe there is no practical
difference between allowing the public
to challenge a courtroom closure and
allowing the public to challenge a
sealing order,” Korsmo wrote.
The appeals court pointedly noted,
however, that the intent of the sealing
order — to protect the defendant’s right
to a fair trial — had to be assumed
because the order itself was not included
in the record.
A similar dilemma was swiftly
resolved earlier this year by the state
Supreme Court, shortly after it heard
arguments in the related lawsuit
involving Sanchez, Mendez’s codefendant.
In that case, the newspaper is
pursuing a broader ruling on the
confusing nexus between the state’s
Public Records Act and the extent to
which records in a criminal case may
be sealed for reasons of privacy and the
right to a fair trial.
Sanchez’s attorneys contend the
records are not administrative in nature,
as the paper argues, and instead fall
under the jurisdiction of the courts,
which are not subject to the Public
Records Act.
The newspaper’s efforts diverged on
appeal due to different legal strategies
and because of the circumstances of
the defendants themselves. Sanchez is
appealing his conviction, while Mendez
has no appeal rights because he pleaded
guilty.
During oral arguments in March,
several justices seemed concerned
that not only were the sealing orders
themselves sealed but that county
officials denied the Herald-Republic’s
request without having seen them.
Days later, the high court issued
a special order requiring the sealing
orders be sent to Olympia so the justices
could see them for themselves.
The amount of spending by courtappointed attorneys has raised questions
that may not be resolved any time soon,
as the Supreme Court may not issue a
ruling in the Sanchez case until next
year.
Among other things, Sanchez’s initial
defense lawyers, Steve Witchley and
Jackie Walsh of Seattle, were accused
of unethical conduct and were removed
from the case.
The pair was later accused by state
Assistant Attorney General John
Hillman of wasting a million dollars of
public money because a new defense
team had to be hired and brought up to
speed, which set the case back.
But Hillman said a full investigation
would be impossible as long as the court
records remain sealed.
YHR’s records battle earns recognition
T
he Washington Coalition for
Open Government presented
Key Awards to the Yakima
Herald-Republic, a Kent public official
and a Seattle computer security expert
on Sept. 17 in recognition of their
work to make government entities in
Washington open and accountable to
the public.
The Yakima Herald-Republic was
recognized for its expensive legal
battle to force Yakima County to turn
over legal billing records. The county
spent upwards of $2 million to defend
two suspects charged in a high profile
murder case and refused to turn over
details of how that money was paid out,
citing both attorney-client privilege and
a claim that judicial records are exempt
from Washington’s public records law.
The state Supreme Court will determine
if the Herald — and the public — will
get to see the records.
Anthony Hemstad, a commissioner
for King County Hospital District No.
1, was honored for his effort to bring
transparency reforms to the governing
body of Valley Medical Center. The
district was sanctioned by the state
BENTON
Public Disclosure Commission for
misusing public funds in the run-up to
a failed 2005 annexation election and
weathered more public criticism for
approving a lavish retirement package
for the hospital’s chief executive.
Hemstad ran as a reform candidate on a
10-point platform designed to open the
workings of the district to taxpayers.
Since his election, the district has begun
videotaping its meetings and posting
its meeting agenda and minutes on the
Internet.
“I care deeply about public policy,
and frankly, I’m proud to be a public
servant,” Hemstad, who is also
Executive Director of the World Trade
Center Tacoma, told a local newspaper.
“When a government breaks the law,
I consider that both a disservice to
society and a personal insult.”
Hemstad was nominated for the
award by former Washington Secretary
of State Ralph Munro.
Computer expert Eric Rachner was
recognized for his investigation into
how the Seattle Police Department
uses video recordings of street arrests,
which revealed a troubling pattern
that shows the department tends to use
the recordings to exonerate officers
involved in internal investigations —
and deny access to suspects and others.
Rachner was arrested by SPD and
charged with obstructing an officer for
refusing to give his name when police
investigated a late night game of “urban
golf” on Capitol Hill.
Although charges against him were
later dropped, Rachner was intrigued
by the use of video recordings by police
and found that they aren’t routinely
destroyed as SPD officials claimed.
At the event, WCOG presented its
annual James Madison Award to The
Seattle Times Co. and publisher Frank
Blethen and the James Andersen Award
to attorney Duane Swinton and his
Spokane law firm, Witherspoon Kelley
Davenport & Toole (story in Sept. 2010
TWN).
The documents that are being
withheld include Lusk’s statements to
police.
Other information that is being
withheld — and which the Herald did
not seek — could identify juveniles
who were named or interviewed by
investigators and includes opinions of
witnesses about credibility or guilt.
Runge said that in balancing the
interests of First Amendment freedom
of information concerns and the Sixth
Amendment assurance to a fair trial,
Lusk’s right “overwhelms the need of
the public” to be informed.
Adamson said the newspaper
regularly has access to police and
investigative information in cases
involving child molestation and asked
how the Lusk case was different.
“Why is this defendant getting
protection and others don’t?” she asked.
Editor’s note: In a Sept. 2 story, the
Herald published a detailed summary of
the documents that were released.
ON THE WEB
Washington Coalition for Open
Government:
www.washingtoncog.org
from page 4
is married to the principal of Prosser
High School, had an inappropriate
sexual encounter with a male high
school student in late April.
She allegedly had been “sexting” with
the boy by cell phone and, later, sexual
touching allegedly occurred between
them.
“The media has made this case
difficult because of intense media
coverage. The court is concerned about
the defendant’s right to a fair trial,”
Judge Runge said.
October 2010 6
The Washington Newspaper
Protest of records law Everett schools under new fire
nearly empties council
T
The Herald, Everett
Vashon-Maury Island
Beachcomber
E
ight of the nine members
of the Vashon-Maury
Island Community
Council’s board resigned last
month in the wake of a King
County legal analysis that the
council has to comply with the
state’s far-reaching public records act.
Jean Bosch, who chairs
the Vashon-Maury Island
Community Council (VMICC),
resigned Aug. 17, one day after
a tense exchange with Islander
Tom Bangasser, who refused to
sit down when she told him he
was out of order.
On Aug. 18 and Aug 19, three
other board members — Bill
Tobin, Christine Beck and Kari
Ulatoski — stepped down. Four
others — Kyle Cruver, Hilary
Emmer, Roger Fulton and Joe
Ulatoski — tendered their resignations on Aug. 20.
Only Jack Barbash remains
on the board.
Bosch did not return telephone calls, and neither Tobin
nor Beck, reached by The
Beachcomber, would comment
about their decision to step
down.
Kari Ulatoski, reached Aug.
19, said she felt she had no
choice but to resign because of
the potential ramifications of the
county’s analysis.
Complying with the open
meetings act is something the
board already does, she said.
But the public disclosure act
— which requires a government
agency to turn over a wide array
of public documents to those
who seek them or face fines of
up to $100 a day for each public
document it fails to provide — is
much more far-reaching and
could prove onerous, she said.
What’s more, she added, she
worries that the community
council’s limited insurance coverage could prove inadequate,
should the council be fined for
failure to comply.
“I can’t afford to continue
as a volunteer,” Ulatoski said.
“We’ve been given all of this
responsibility, but there’s not
protection.”
In a letter of resignation, Joe
Ulatoski said he too felt he had
no choice in light of the county’s
legal analysis.
“This is an onerous burden
to place on volunteers who ultimately have no power to make
decisions and whose advice
can be ignored at will by King
County,” he wrote in his letter.
“The VMICC, in many ways a
toothless tiger, now will have all
of the burdens and responsibili-
ties of an entity that has teeth
and adequate funding.”
Cruver concurred: Complying
with the public disclosure act, he
said in a brief interview, could
require “an immeasurable commitment of time. There’s just no
way to quantify how many many
hundreds of hours of work could
be requested by someone.”
The county weighed in on the
question of whether the community council has to meet the requirements of the state’s public
records act at Bosch’s request.
In an Aug. 3 letter to County
Executive Dow Constantine,
Bosch noted that the council is
a nonprofit organization, not a
government agency, and that it’s
the board’s belief that it should
not have to comply with the
state’s public records act. At the
same time, she added in her letter, legal statements about this
question have been inconsistent
and the issue continues to dog
the council.
In a four-page legal analysis
issued Aug. 19, three lawyers in
the King County prosecutor’s
office said they believe the
VMICC — like the five other
unincorporated area councils
or UACs — has to comply with
both the open meetings act and
the state’s far-reaching public
records act.
“While a case could be made
that the UACs are independent,
volunteer organizations that do
not undertake governmental
functions, the close interaction
between the county and the
UACs as well as the extent of
county funding for the UACs
weigh in favor of applicability
of the (Public Records Act),” the
lawyers wrote.
The county’s legal analysis is similar to one issue last
November by Timothy Ford, the
open government ombudsman
for the state attorney general’s
office, who also said that King
County’s UACs “fulfill a basic government function” and
should comply with the state’s
open government laws.
Emmer added that she fully
believes in transparency and has
comported herself that way in
her time on the council’s board.
But the idea of having to save
every e-mail and document and
spend hours searching for material to comply with a request “is
an undue burden,” she said.
Editor’s note: In the Sept.
15 issue, the Beachcomber announced the council’s Sept. 20
meeting and ran related letters
to the editor on its editorial
page, as well as a guest column
by a resident who works under
the public records act.
he Everett School Board
at a hastily scheduled
meeting Sept. 14
discussed the school district’s
handling of an investigation into
one of its principals.
The accusations against
the principal were found to
be baseless and unfounded,
Superintendent Gary Cohn told
the board.
An attorney conducted an
investigation this summer after
the district received anonymous
letters accusing the principal of
misconduct. The investigation
ended in July, Cohn said.
Board member Jessica Olson
criticized district officials for
not letting most of the board
know about the investigation.
Olson is a frequent critic of the
school district, saying it needs to
be run with more transparency
in the interests of taxpayers and
voters.
“We’re talking about when
we get the information,” Olson
said. “We don’t get it, that’s the
issue.”
Information being withheld
from elected board members,
she said, “becomes not a matter
of an individual incident but
more of a pattern, and more of
an overall philosophy.”
Board President Ed Petersen
said he was briefed after the
investigation was concluded
and did not feel the matter was
something that needed to be
T
provided onsite advertising in
the month before the event, and
a tour of the Cinema, which provided appetizers and beverages.
The newspaper announced the
event in the Aug. 20 issue.
In the Aug. 27 issue, a
Women in Business doubletruck section told the story of
the YWCA Family Village and
Working Wardrobe programs
and included ads about local
women-owned businesses whose
owners functioned as co-spon-
reporter, saying she answered
a specific question regarding
whether any administrators
were currently being
investigated.
But in the conversation the
previous week, the reporter also
read Waggoner the first line of
the anonymous letter, which
named the principal. Cohn did
not address that in his Sept. 14
e-mail.
Everett police and the
Snohomish County Sheriff’s
Office both confirmed they
have received complaints about
whomever wrote the letters.
Everett is not investigating.
The Sheriff’s Office took
a complaint about someone
being the subject of harassing
communication and it will
probably be forwarded
to a detective for review,
spokeswoman Rebecca Hover
said.
Olson and Jeff Russell were
elected to the school board
in 2009 by campaigning on
platforms promising to bring
more openness to the 18,400student district following a
secret investigation of a teacher
conducted by the previous
superintendent. That decision
cost taxpayers more than
$200,000 in legal fees and
involved district officials lying
about installing a camera to spy
on the teacher’s classroom.
Governor fills sunshine panel posts
G
ov. Chris Gregoire
on Sept. 10 filled vacancies on the state
Public Records Exemption
Accountability Committee, also
called the Sunshine Committee,
with the following appointments.
Former Appeals Court Judge
Susan Agid will join the committee as chair Jan. 3, 2011.
She replaces Patience Rogge,
Friends of Fort Worden.
City of Seattle Attorney Pete
Holmes replaces Tom Carr,
former chair, who left in July to
serve as city attorney in Boulder,
Colo.
The term of current member
Frank Garred, former publisher
of the Port Townsend Leader,
was extended.
Retiring Rep. Lynn Kessler,
who replaces Candy Jackson,
will serve as first vice chair until Agid joins the committee.
Rep. Kessler previously was
on the committee by legislative
appointment. Her retirement
and subsequent appointment by
the governor opens a legislative appointment to be made
by Speaker of the House Frank
Chopp.
Under the law that established the committee in 2007,
the governor appoints six of the
committee’s thirteen members
including the chair. At least seven members must be present at a
meeting to have a quorum.
AP college grid site open to non-members
T
he Associated Press has
launched a new Top 25
College Football service
also available to non-members
for free.
The AP Top 25 College
Football Site initiative will bring
the AP, member and third-party
content into one central location
for college football fans to see
national and local coverage of
their favorite teams — whether
in the Top 25 or not.
They can also follow their
teams as they move up and
Redmond Reporter leads local networking
he Redmond Reporter
partnered with Redmond
Town Center, Gold Class
Cinemas and local businesses
to host a September networking
event for women in business and
solicit donations of professional
clothing to women in need.
The event, held at Gold Class
Cinemas at the Center on Sept.
14, drew about 50 women, each
of whom donated clothing.
It included a fashion show by
businesses at the Center, which
shared with the entire board.
“That’s what I did,” he said.
“I did it partly because I think
an allegation takes on a life of
its own once it gets out.”
Olson was alone in her
criticism. The rest of the
five-member board said they
supported the decision to
limit who knew about the
investigation to Cohn and a few
other district administrators.
“I trust the result of the
investigation. I don’t feel I need
to see it,” board member Carol
Andrews said.
Most school board members
learned of the district’s
investigation last week after
Cohn sent an e-mail saying the
district had received a call from
The Herald asking about it. The
Herald received an anonymous
letter last week that said the
district was investigating. When
a reporter called with questions,
district spokeswoman Mary
Waggoner said there was no
investigation.
The next day, however,
Cohn told the school board that
an investigation had happened,
found nothing and was being
referred to police to investigate
the letter-writer. The district
also was working with an
attorney to come up with a
media strategy to protect the
principal’s privacy.
On Sept. 14, in an e-mail to
district employees, Cohn stood
by what Waggoner told the
sors the event. Included in the
price of the advertising was an
opportunity to speak for five
minutes at the networking event.
A followup story on Sept. 17
described the event and reminded readers of how important the
Working Wardrobe program is
to the women and men it benefits.
A representative of the
YWCA accepted donations of
interview clothing at the event.
down in the rankings and participate in the passionate dialogue
that surrounds college football.
The site — sports.ap.org/college-football — features a dynamic display of AP’s Top 25
poll and pages for each team,
conference, notable players
and coaches. AP hosts the site,
which includes AP multimedia
content and headline links to
members’ stories.
AP newspaper members who
cover Division I football can use
the site as a new source of Web
traffic. Members and non-members that don’t already prominently cover college football and
do not plan to contribute content
can use consumer-ready tools
like widgets to build a college
football Web page – and sell ads
against it.
Contact Northwest AP Bureau
Chief Nancy Trott at 206-2850819 or [email protected]
October 2010 7
The Washington Newspaper
‘Ben Franklin’ leads an ‘Adobe tax’ revolt
A
few years back, when
I wore fewer hats and
there were more bodies
sharing the workload — does
this sound like your office? — I
had more time to ponder. One
of the big ideas I considered was
whether it would be feasible for
a newspaper operation to get
its product out the door without
paying for pricey, proprietary
software.
The price of computer hardware has dropped dramatically
in the past 20 years. Software?
Not so much. Small newspapers
continue to pay a steep “Adobe
tax” for key production tools;
medium-sized and larger dailies
still need to invest tens of thousands of dollars for specialized
production systems that cater to
the unique needs of the newspaper industry.
Other newspaper folks have
also been thinking about this
as well. Earlier this year, one
company did something about
it and successfully completed a
project that will allow its papers
to function – in both the print
and online worlds — solely with
open source (free) software.
The Journal Register Co. is
a heavy hitter in the industry,
with more than 170 papers in the
Northeast and Midwest (just 19
of them are dailies). And they
suffered along with everyone in
the brutal economic climate of
the last couple of years. Cutting
costs has never been a higher
priority.
The company launched the
initiative — dubbed the Ben
Franklin Project — and turned
its brightest tech minds loose
to answer the “can we do it for
free?” question.
Like most newspaper companies, Journal Register realized
that the electronic versions of
their news product would be
their focus going forward. In the
years since its papers launched
Web sites, staff quickly realized
that many of the software tools
they used to run those sites were
open source. If we can produce
Web and mobile content with
free tools, can the same thing
be done on the print side?” they
wondered. Turned out it can.
What are the key software
tools needed to produce a con-
temporary
newspaper?
Just three basics: word processing to write
and edit stories,
a photo editor,
and pagination
software to
Bill Will
build ads and
General manager
pages.
WNPA
Word processing was
the easiest. Google Docs and
OpenOffice (www.openoffice.
org).
Image editor? The bulk of
Photoshop’s functionality can be
replaced with a ton of free and
freely available tools, some of
them Web-based like Pixlr and
Piknic (URLs are self-explanatory).
For pagination, though, it
boils down to only one choice:
Scribus. Freeware pagination
sounds like a pipe dream, but
the Scribus development team
pulled it off. Versions are available for Mac, Windows, and
Linux, and all can produce
pages from business-card to
broadsheet size and crunch
prepress-ready PDF files. And
the Journal Register tech team
proved it by putting papers on
the street using it.
I’d love to have time to
experiment with Scribus. If
I was starting a newspaper
from scratch, I’d take a long,
hard look at it. Switching from
InDesign or Quark would be
a tougher challenge. Because
both used proprietary file formats, Scribus’ developers can’t
legally make filters that would
let Scribus import existing files
from those two programs.
Fonts would also probably be
a major issue — they always are
in newspaper production.
But it might be a worthy experience to visit www.scribus.
net and give it a test drive. And
if you do, I’d love to hear your
thoughts.
And check out details of the
Ben Franklin Project at http://jrcbenfranklinproject.wordpress.
com
Don’t overlook other
freeware
I’ve often sung the praises of
Can’t afford
Adobe’s expensive
Creative Suite,
or even a copy of
Photoshop? Try
freeware like Gimp
(above) or an online
image editing site
like Pixlr (left).
open source software. There are
several tools I continue to use on
a daily basis.
I’m writing this column on
OpenOffice Writer. I have the
Microsoft Office 2007 suite on
my computer. It’s a fine, useful
program — but I detest the user
interface. OpenOffice Writer
might look a little clunky and
old-fashioned, but I don’t want
a lot of flashy distractions when
I’m writing.
A notable omission from the
Ben Franklin Project’s list of
freeware tools was The Gimp,
a venerable free image-editing
tool. I use it constantly, and it
gets better with every version.
The speed and utility of Gimp
was really put to the test in
the past few weeks as I waded
through files to prepare the
WNPA 2010 Better Newspaper
Contest award show. The bulk
of contest entries are submitted
as PDF files, and Gimp allowed
me to easily open the PDFs, crop
them if necessary, and export a
jpg file for use in a Powerpoint
slide.
Speaking of PDFs, there are
now many open-source PDF creation and editing tools available.
You no longer need to spend big
bucks for the full Adobe Acrobat
suite.
I’m a huge fan of the free
PDFill PDF Tools suite (sorry
— Windows only). With it, I can
merge, split, reorder, encrypt,
decrypt, rotate or crop files, add
headers, footers or watermarks
or convert a PDF file to a variety
of image formats.
The latter capability proved
invaluable for producing another convention presentation. I
needed image files of a 28-page
special section tabloid. One click
of a button produced 28 separate
jpg files and saved me a couple
of hours of work. Nice.
Use the Web to beef up your
election coverage
Journal Register Co.’s tech team produced a paper for the street using the online
Scribus pagination system.
As October begins, expect a
big chunk of your news hole to
be filled with election coverage.
That’s great, as producing an informed electorate is one of journalism’s most important jobs.
Make sure your news staffs
have these two sites
bookmarked — they are
tremendous resources
for covering election
races.
Site 1: For state
legislative races, washingtonvotes.org is a
super resource for both
reporters and voters.
Track voting records
and bill sponsorship
data quickly and comprehensively. Does an incumbent’s
campaign rhetoric match his or
her performance in Olympia?
This site will let you find out.
It’s likely far too little space
will be devoted to judicial races,
and that’s a shame. An excellent
tool to flesh out that coverage is
VotingForJudges.org.
This great, overlooked site
features detailed bios, questionnaire responses and ratings for
Superior Court and District
Court candidates across the state
as well as Court of Appeals and
Supreme Court races. Give these
races some ink, please.
Finally, some comic relief
We’re giving away an iPad
as a door prize at the WNPA
Annual Convention (which you
are just heading to or returning
from as you’re reading this, I
hope).
Here’s a fun little iPad application that folks of my vintage
will appreciate. It’s a great way
to show the youngsters in the
newsroom how the old salts
cranked out copy in the era before computers.
It’s called MiTypewriter, and
it replicates the sight and sound
(and many of the frustrations) of
the manual typewriter era. It’s
$1.99 at the iTunes store.
I can easily imagine a 20something fooling around with
MiTyprewriter and exclaiming
to me, “You actually had to
write like THIS!?”
And I would reply, “Yep.”
Maybe some wag will develop
an app that lets you generate
headline counts accurately.
Always had trouble with those.
October 2010 8
The Washington Newspaper
CAREER MOVES
■ Spencer Hatton, editorial
page editor of the Yakima
Herald-Republic, retired from
the newspaper last month.
He had served 28 years in a
variety of editing positions,
beginning with city editor.
Under his editorial leadership,
the newspaper sued for access
to public records to cover
local stories and published an
award-winning investigative
series on the 2001 Thirtymile
Fire. Hatton and his late wife,
Bronnie, had a son, Jed, who
was autistic. Hatton founded the
local chapter of the Washington
State Fathers Network and
served on the Yakima schools’
Special Education Advisory
Council and in other ways
advocated for parents and
special needs children. His
successor as editorial page
editor is Frank Purdy. Purdy
has been a copy editor at the
newspaper for 21 years. A
native of Nashville, Tenn., he
also worked on the copy desk
at the Nashville Banner and
held several editing positions
at the former Bellevue Journal
American. Purdy lives in
Toppenish, where he volunteers
with cross country and track
teams at Toppenish High
School. He is a marathoner,
ultramarathoner and triathlete.
■ Battle Ground Reflector
Publisher Steve Walker has
named reporter Ken Vance
as the editor of the weekly
paper. Vance brings 17 years
of experience to the position,
previously held by ownerpublisher Marvin Case. He
joined the Reflector in 2007
and has covered a variety of
subjects, from city council
and school board meetings
to community events, sports
and general news. Previously,
Vance had served as a sports
reporter for The Columbian in
Vancouver and was an on-air
sports radio talk show host.
Most recently he teamed with
the radio voice of the Portland
Trail Blazers for Sportsradio
95.5 in Portland. Case sold
the newspaper to Lafromboise
Communications and retired
this past July.
■ Ben Watanabe has
FOURNIER
Media Services, Inc.
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Prosser, WA 99350
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My 50 years on 15 small
publications can help you:
• sell more ads & subs
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• avoid bricks through your window
• start/improve your website
Jay Becker
Community Consulting
[email protected] - (206) 790-9457
joined Langley’s the South
Whidbey Record as a reporter.
Covering primarily South
Whidbey sports at the Record,
he is also assisting with general
assignment reporting. He
succeeds Jeff VanDerford,
who retired in July. Samantha
O’Brochta, a journalism
major at Western Washington
University, was a reporter intern
for the Record’s Island Life
pages.
■ The Spokesman-Review
has announced two promotions.
Mike Dixon, the major accounts
manager. was named advertising
director. Dixon has been
with the company since 1983.
Rolanda Webb, most recently
the newspaper’s advertising
administrative coordinator, was
promoted to the budget, training
and compensation manager. She
has been with the paper since
1989.
■ Kaitlin Strohschein
has joined the Port Orchard
Independent as a staff reporter.
Strohschein, a 2010 graduate of
the University of Washington,
interned for the Seattle Times
business section and served on
the Olympia desk for the Puget
Sound Business Journal.
■ Nisqually Valley News in
Yelm has a familiar face back in
the office. Nicole Halverson has
returned to the newspaper after
more than two years away. She
had worked with the company
for nearly five years, and
returned as production manager.
She has a degree in graphic
design and digital imaging and
prepress technology.
■ The Issaquah Press hired
Laura Geggel, a 2006 Press
intern, as a new reporter.
Geggel is also a veteran of the
SnoValley Star, a sister weekly
of the Press in Snoqualmie. For
the past two and a half years,
she reported on the Snoqualmie
Valley School District and
Snoqualmie and North Bend
for the Star. Geggel succeeds
Chantelle Lusebrink, who
is pursuing graduate school
at the American University in
Paris. The Press also hosted
four interns this summer,
college students Paige Collins,
Elizabeth DeVos, Kirsten
Johnson and Sarah Sexton.
Managing Editor Kathleen
Merrill provided column space
in the Aug. 25 issue for their
reflections on the summer’s
experiences.
■ Kristin Okinaka has
joined the Central Kitsap
Reporter in Silverdale as a
general assignment reporter. A
2009 graduate of the University
of Washington, she was an
office assistant for WNPA this
past summer. Her internships
include the Cambodia Daily in
Phnom Penh, The Seattle Times,
North American Post (Seattle),
Seattle Metropolitan Magazine,
and King County Library
Systems (Issaquah).
■ New on the reporting
staff at the Columbia Basin
Herald in Moses Lake is Amy
Phan. During her college years
she gained print journalism
experience writing for the
Northwest Asian Weekly of
Seattle and The Journal, a
monthly publication. Most
recently she was a video editor
for NorthWest Cable News
in Seattle. Phan graduated
from Seattle University in
2008. Phan succeeds Candice
Boutilier, who is contemplating
a medical career and returning
to college to study physics and
chemistry.
■ Pam Stevens, managing
editor of the Lake Stevens
Journal, was promoted to copublisher last month. Stevens
has been on the Journal staff
for five years. In addition to her
responsibilities as managing
editor, she now has more handson responsibility for setting
and meeting budgetary goals.
Desiree Cahoon, publisher
for the past 20 years, made the
announcement. Cahoon joined
the newspaper in 1982.
■ Vince Lovato drove 1,200
miles to start his job as editor
of the Lake Chelan Mirror
in Chelan. He succeeds Les
Bowen, who accepted a job
twice as far away, some 2,500
miles from North Central
Washington. Lovato has spent
most of his 28-year career at
large metropolitan newspapers
in Southern California. He
and his wife waited until their
children were grown to move
to a small community in the
Northwest.
■ The Sequim Gazette’s new
reporter, Mark Couhig, has
more than 30 years experience
as a reporter, editor and
publisher. His first job after
college was serving as editor
of the weekly St. Francisville
(La.) Democrat, where his
great-grandfather had been
editor in 1850, when the paper
was called The Republican.
In 1984 Couhig and his wife,
Linda, started Environmental
Compliance Reporter Inc.
When they sold the business in
1995, it was a national company
with offices in four states and
Washington, D.C. The couple
then relocated with their
daughter Amelia to Angel Fire,
N.M. There, Couhig served
as editor of the town’s weekly
Sangre de Cristo Chronicle,
earning the state’s “Best Small
Weekly” award both years he
was editor. The couple moved to
Sequim to be closer to Linda’s
family.
■ Kimberly Janda has
joined the sales team at
the Shelton-Mason County
Journal. Previously she served
as an account manager at
the Shopper’s Weekly and an
account representative at Sound
Broadcasting in Shelton. Janda
also has a retail background.
She launched and for two years
managed the Mason General
Hospital Foundation’s Treasure’s
Thrift Store, and was a
department sales manager at the
former Bon Marche in Puyallup.
She lives in Shelton with her
two teenage children, Nick and
Brittany.