This issue of The Beachcomber is a bittersweet one for me — it’s my last. After five years as both a reporter and editor at the newspaper, I’m moving on. My husband, who just graduated law school, has a job waiting in Anchorage. We’re preparing to move north and begin a new chapter that will include career moves, many salmon dinners and a hopefully a little bit of adventure.
Wrapping up my time at the newspaper, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve accomplished at Vashon’s weekly. And as much as I like to think I’ve made a mark on this island in five short years, I have to admit that it’s Vashon that has made its mark on me.
The Beachcomber’s mission has been and will continue to be to hold a mirror up to this unique place. In attempting to reflect Vashon on the pages of this paper, I’ve met advocates who tirelessly work to further their causes. I’ve gotten to know civil servants who care deeply for the community. I’ve delved into every aspect of the island and in every place found passionate and ambitious souls who give what they can to the community, sometimes against great odds. Some of you have become teachers, showing me the ropes of taxes, wildlife, lawsuits or construction projects. And many of you, whether making strides to improve this place we call home or contributing in smaller, day-to-day ways, have personally inspired me.
In reporting on Vashon, I’ve also told hard stories and been the bearer of bad news. I’ve covered crime and controversies. I’ve asked tough questions of those in charge and provided a voice for those who feel they have nowhere left to turn. I’ve talked with islanders at their worst moments and listened to people grieving the deaths of loved ones. I’ve been yelled at, and I’ve shed a few tears.
At this newspaper, we work to simply tell the story, regardless of the reaction it may have. At the same time, we’ve learned to treat our neighbors with the respect and fairness that’s vital if we want to keep sharing this small island. It’s a job that’s tough, challenging and often leaves us holding our breath on Wednesday morning as the paper hits newsstands. It’s also a job that makes a difference in this place, a job that’s deeply rewarding.
While the face at the helm of The Beachcomber will change, its mission will not. The crew at the paper is a hard-working and dedicated bunch that does much with very limited resources and does it with integrity and professionalism. Lend them a hand by continuing to be their eyes and ears in the town. Pick up the phone a or drop a note when you have news or feedback. Give your opinions in letters to the editor and guest commentaries. And if you’re as intrigued by this island in the sound as I am, take time to read the stories The Beachcomber has to tell. Like me, you might shed a few tears, but you just might be inspired as well.
Natalie can be reached in the future at firstname.lastname@example.org.