June 2, 2021 — If there is one thing that has been made clear in my seven years with the Siuslaw News, it is that there is something special about a newspaper that has spanned more than a century.
Through the “Looking Back” series I put together in 2020 in honor of the paper’s 130th anniversary, I was able to highlight the various publishers of the newspaper and document the name progression that brought us from The West to The Siuslaw News to the Florence Times to The Siuslaw Oar, back to The Siuslaw News and, now, to Siuslaw News. I tracked our progression from May 1890, when Col. B.F. Alley established The West, all the way through 2000, when publishers Paul and Beverly Holman sold the newspaper to News Media Corporation.
I’m not the first person to go back through our records — I leaned heavily on past work — nor will I be the last. But it was an honor to dig through our old editions and find treasure in the form of old stories and photos.
The whole series was a chance to learn about the community and newspaper I love. It was also an opportunity to learn about the enduring legacy of a newspaper that has been around even longer than the city it serves.
It’s also why Publisher Jenna Bartlett chose “news and views that define a community” as our tagline.
In my previous roles of intern (summer 2014), city reporter (January 2015 through September 2016) and features editor (September 2016 to May 2021), I have learned nearly every aspect of putting together a community newspaper. There is still, of course, much more to learn.
Thanks to the staff at the Siuslaw News and a newsroom filled at various times with friends and mentors, I feel prepared to take on the responsibility of editor. This is not just due to the writing, photography and graphic design skills they have helped me develop. It is also because each of my colleagues have been dedicated, passionate proponents of journalistic ideals and commitment to truth.
These are the genes getting passed down from the generations in the newsroom before me. Not just the editors and reporters I’ve worked with, but from those with whom my team has worked. Their legacy continues, too, in the Siuslaw News of today.
As I begin my first week as editor, I have with me two people in the newsroom: Lead Reporter Mark Brennan and Sports Reporter Zeahna Young. I am so proud of them and the work they do to write stories about our community. Together, we make a pretty great team.
In the coming years, some things will be different. After all, the world continues to change at a rapid pace and the news media both documents and reflects those changes. But some things will remain the same. For example, the Siuslaw News’ dedication to truth, integrity, hope and this community. It is a legacy I proudly embrace as I become editor.
To readers of the Siuslaw News, thank you for 131 years. I and my team look forward to this next part of the journey with you.