The Beachcomber is in the midst of staff transition, as longtime reporter and current editor Susan Riemer and calendar editor/reporter Sarah Low are both stepping down. Their departures are not related.
Peggy Chapman, who previously served as the editor of the Northwest Asian Weekly, has been named the new editor; the search to replace Low is still open.
Riemer first started at The Beachcomber in the summer of 2001 in a part-time position, hoping it would be a good island job that would fit well with motherhood. Initially, she was hired to compile the weekly calendar and “Club News” feature of the paper. That job expanded to a part-time reporter position with hours and duties that grew over time. She was promoted to the paper’s full-time reporter position when former editor Leslie Brown left in 2013 and Natalie Martin became the editor. Riemer was promoted to the editor position when Anneli Fogt left in November 2017.
Riemer, who has written about many aspects of island life, says stories related to island health care have been among those most meaningful to her. Her last day will be June 14.
“Leaving is bittersweet. In many ways, I feel like I have grown up at The Beachcomber,” she said. “Eighteen years is an incredibly long time to work somewhere. I am leaving grateful for all the stories that islanders have shared with me over the years and for all the colleagues I have worked alongside as we did our best to tell the island’s news.”
Low began at The Beachcomber in 2013. She manages the community calendar and The Beachcomber website and writes news stories. She is leaving the paper to care for her son; Low’s last day will be June 21.
New to the editor’s position this week is Seattle resident Peggy Chapman.
Most recently, Chapman has been working as a freelance editor, writer and designer. Prior to that, she served as the editor of the Northwest Asian Weekly in Seattle. Her other work experience includes teaching English at New Mexico State University and serving as the publications manager for the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York City.
Chapman said she first became acquainted with the island more than a decade ago when her sister wanted to buy a house on Vashon; they took several trips here together.
As for what drew her to the editor position, “I love print,” she said, noting she is looking forward to learning more about the island.
“I feel like I am going to be part of the community, and I care about the readership,” she said. “I am going to learn as much as they are going to learn.”
Publisher Daralyn Anderson said The Beachcomber will continue to focus on quality local journalism.
“Susan Riemer and Sarah Low have been wonderful colleagues and journalists who care deeply about their work. I wish them the best,” Anderson said. “We’re excited to have Peggy Chapman on board as our new editor and continuing The Beachcomber’s role as a vital part of island life.”