Another staff transition is under way at The Beachcomber as longtime reporter and current editor Susan Riemer is stepping down. She had returned to the paper in July in an interim capacity.
Kevin Opsahl, the former features editor and a staff writer for The Herald Journal in Logan, Utah, has been named the new editor.
Opsahl was born and raised in Maryland. He lived in the Washington, D.C. area until 2004, when his father started a business in Kirkland and his family moved to the Pacific Northwest. He began his career in journalism as an assistant editor and reporter for The Observer student newspaper at Central Washington University before graduating in 2010. He was a contributing writer for The Kirkland Reporter in 2010 until he struck out on his own and joined the newsroom at The Herald Journal, covering stories throughout his career that range from local business news to LGBTQ+ issues; regional concerns, Utah State University, and agriculture.
“In journalism, I like telling people’s stories,” said Opsahl. “Whether it’s going to city council meetings or making a public records request, or checking out that fire scene or police scene or talking to people around town, we’re gathering the news so people can stay informed and on top of things, because not everyone else has the opportunity to be a reporter on their own time.”
When Opsahl is not filing his own stories before deadline, he is often checking his Twitter feed for the latest breaking news. He said he is excited about getting to know the island both as a resident and as a reporter, as well as integrating into the community.
“The Beachcomber seems like a great community paper, and there are many people who have come before me who have worked very hard on it,” he said. “I want to come in as a new person and continue to make The Beachcomber a great paper. I want people to see it as a great source of community news.”
Riemer first started at The Beachcomber in the summer of 2001 in a part-time position, compiling the weekly calendar and former “Club News” feature of the paper. After becoming a full-time reporter in 2013, she was promoted to the editor position when Anneli Fogt left in November 2017. Riemer had left the paper in June but returned after the search for a new editor was reopened in July.
“I was happy to come back and help the team here, and I’m also looking forward to welcoming Kevin and moving on to whatever is next for me,” she said. “The Beachcomber and all the people who work hard doing community journalism will always hold a special place in my heart.”
Publisher Daralyn Anderson said The Beachcomber’s staff has been grateful for Riemer’s reporting and tenure as editor.
“Susan cares deeply about journalism and informing the community. While we shall miss her, we are looking forward to working with Kevin Opsahl, who brings with him the same level of regard and talent for exceptional coverage to The Beachcomber and will continue to provide quality news for Vashon-Maury Islanders.”