Tag Archives: Kitsap Sun

Find PO Council Videos on Kitsap Sun Web Site

The Port Orchard City Council meets tonight. You can find a video of the Jan. 26 council meeting, courtesy of the City of Port Orchard, on the Kitsap Sun’s Web site.

Find an archive of South Kitsap videos at this URL.

In other City of Port Orchard news, the city council will hold a retreat at 2 p.m. 9 a.m. on Feb. 19.

The City Council will hold a Retreat on Friday, February 19, 2010, at City Hall. Items for discussion will be:

• Council Goals and Objectives

The meeting is open to the public and will begin at 2:00 p.m. For more information, please contact the City Clerk’s office at 360.876.4407.

The Truth About Being a Journalist

Yesterday, I spent the morning at Marcus Whitman Junior High School‘s annual career fair. The gym was full of folks representing a range of professions: machinists, attorneys, animal control workers, a member of the county coroner’s staff, restaurant owners, medical personnel. It was our job to give the students a glimpse into the future and imagine themselves in our shoes.

Seeing them streaming into the gym reminded me what it was like to be in their shoes, drifting in that limbo stage between childhood and adulthood, trying to fit in while standing out. A few had that deer-in-the-headlights stare. Like, “Oh, man, I’m actually going to have to get a job someday.” Some knew exactly what they wanted to do … to the point they’d crossed all other possibilities off the list. The vast majority of them, however, were open-minded, politely but genuinely interested in prospect of being a journalist, at least for a minute or two.

I thought, what do I tell them about our industry, which has seen thousands of journalists laid off and hundreds of publications shuttered? Should I encourage these young people to invest their money, time and energy training for a career that may not exist as we know it by the time they’re out of school? It wouldn’t quite have been in the spirit of things to say, “Run!” So I told them the truth about journalism, at least as see it from my desk at the Kitsap Sun, a daily newspaper/Web site, published in Bremerton, Wash., circa 2010.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, and how I answered them.

Where do you get your story ideas?
We monitor state and local government Web sites and other Web sites for developments in and around Kitsap County. We stay in contact with sources with whom we’ve established relationships and use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to keep up with what’s going on. We receive e-mails and phones calls from readers and others about news or human interest stories. And sometimes, we get ideas that strike our fancy, like the story I wrote on the Mattress Ranch guy.

What’s the hardest part of your job?
Writing the first sentence of any story.

What educational classes do I need to take to become a writer?
Don’t wait to complete your degree to start writing. Sign up for the high school newspaper or year book. Take journalism, photography and videography classes (South Kitsap High School has a great video production program). Write as often as you can, and be open to constructive criticism. Pick a topic that interests you and start a blog.

How successful are students who major in journalism at getting a job?
This wasn’t a frequently asked question, but I thought it was a great question. I couldn’t speak to current statistics, but I can say that the job market for journalists remains tight. Journalists today are required to wear many hats, so successful applicants will be ready to demonstrate versatility and innovation. Here at the Kitsap Sun, we reporters now not only write stories, but shoot videos and, in a pinch, take simple photographs.

With migration to the Internet, reporting the news is shifting from a series of static episodes to a fluid, quickly shifting landscape of information. News Web sites not only report news, sports, features and opinion pieces (as in the print paper), they serve as an online community forum. Readers can comment on stories and blogs, submit their own pictures and videos, and write their own blogs. In that was were are becoming a virtual community.

The Kitsap Sun will continue to publish the print edition of the paper. At the same time, our Web site is evolving rapidly. Both serve different, valid purposes. By the time these Marcus Whitman students graduate from college, it’s likely there will be jobs that don’t even exist (at least as separate jobs) right now. The titles “data base wrangler,” and “news cartographer” come to mind, for example.

To the student in the Twilight T-shirt who said she likes to write fantasy stories I said:
Hold that thought, keep writing and send your stories out to fiction publications as often as possible. At the same time, consider how you’ll earn a paycheck while waiting to become the next Stephenie Meyer.

To guy who wants to be a sports writer but wasn’t sure how he’d do it since he plays sports year ’round:
Cover the girls’ games.
I loved his reaction, at first, stunned silence, then a little ah-ha moment, then a slow sideways grin. They can be taught.

Is your job, like boring?
Yes, sometimes. Welcome to the real world.

Is your job stressful?
Yes, often. Welcome to the world of journalism.

Have you ever interviewed a celebrity?
I tried to tell them about Loretta Swit, aka “Hot-Lips Hoolahan,” who was in town a few years ago promoting her personal cosmetic line to a group of women. She gave me a mini-makeover in front of the group, but it didn’t take. The students were clueless about the significance of this story. They got the connection to M*A*S*H* after I primed their little neuron pumps, but they were unimpressed with Swit.

Debbie Macomber? Isn’t she that author lady? I think my mom reads her books.

Delilah? The South Kitsap resident and radio personality with millions of fans on the airwaves? No, never heard of her.

Seriously, next time Death Cab comes to town I’m on it. Just maybe they’ll know who Ben Gibbard is.

Do you like your job?
Yes, unequivocally. Stress turned inside out is excitement, and this job is frequently exciting. I’m not just talking about breaking news here, but also about how much fun it is not to know exactly what I’ll be doing each day when I walk in the door. Oh, sure, I have a plan, but often circumstances shift me to another track. We’re a small staff so I get to write news, features, Code 911 items and pretty much whatever comes along. I enjoy the variety, and I’m always amazed at how people allow me into their lives, often at deeply painful moments.

I also like the folks I work with, and I’m not just sucking up because I’m stuck with them. Over the past three years, it has sometimes seemed as if we were bailing out a leaky dingy while building the Titanic. We got this far though teamwork (and sometimes wacky outbursts of humor). Call me a terminal optimist, but I believe I’m not alone in saying things are looking up for the Kitsap Sun. It’s a work in progress. I can’t wait to see how it turns out, and I sure hope there will be someone to pick up where we leave off.

Recession Humor: Heard a Good One Lately?

Economic pundits may see signs the recession is easing, but that’s small comfort to Leah Figueras of Poulsbo, a dental assistant and single mother of two who was laid off in July. I wrote about Figueras as part of the Kitsap Sun’s Faces of the Recession series.

One of recommendations experts have folks like Leah for who are depressed over loss of a job is laughter. Well it seems we, as a nation, have found plenty of humor in widespread unemployment, home foreclosures and bank bailouts. In fact, it’s spawned a whole new industry.

Yes, it’s the great American way. When the going gets tough, we go shopping for T-shirts, coffee mugs and refrigerator magnets. We send recession humor greeting cards. And we drink from a no doubt collectible recession humor pint glass.

Recession Beer Mug
Recession Beer Mug

We post slide shows with catchy sayings about the economy.

And we laugh at political cartoons about the recession.

Bailout Sculpture
Bailout Sculpture

We all could use a good laugh. So post your favorite recession jokes here. Hey, “If I had 700 billion, I guess I could save the economy, too.”

Kitsap Sun Says “Bye” to Our Intern

Today we say good-bye to our intern, Angela Lu, a resident of Los Angeles who is heading back to Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where she is a junior majoring in journalism You may remember I asked Angela to give her first impressions of Kitsap. She’ll now look back in retrospect and tell you what pearls of wisdom she has picked up here at the Kitsap Sun.

Kitsap Sun Intern Angela Lu

Angela says:

“After three months at the Kitsap Sun, I’ve learned what keywords will garner the largest number of comments, off-tangent argument, and jokes on this site.  Here it goes…

Washington state ferries, immigration — illegal and legal, Code 911 (meth addicts, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, crazy-random felons), SNOW!, porn tax, racial issues, same-sex parents, religion, school board meetings, the military, SKIA, levies, ferry tunnel, and any quirky story that a pun can be made out of.

(I hope this blog post shows up for every archive search with the above words.)

Maybe more than just hot-button issues, I’ve come to learn what Kitsapians (did I just make up a new term?) care about, what they have opinions about, and what they are passionate about.

Instead of just seeing Kitsap as a county on a map, these past few months I’ve been able to fill in what gives Kitsap color.  It’s the faces I see, the stories I hear.  It’s the Access bus drivers, the state patrol officers, the city council members, the veterans, the tribal members, the small business owners, the librarians, local heroes and just everyday people who call Kitsap home

Through covering stories on a variety of topics, I’ve been able to get a crash-course on what life is like here. By spending time here—talking to people and learning more about the area, I’ve started to care about the issues Kitsapians care about.  And in some sense, Kitsap has become like my own home.

So although I’m excited to go back home and back to school, I’m also sad to leave here.  What gives me comfort is that through the Web, I can still stay connected to Kitsap and check up every once in a while to see how it’s going.

In my eyes, the Web is a whole new dimension of charted and uncharted cyber-land.  It seems endless and daunting, but just remember that www.kitsapsun.com is your property.  It’s a place where the whole community can come together to chat, to discussion and to share your thoughts about things that hit close to home.

So treat it like your house.  Keep it clean, treat it with respect, and most importantly, don’t forget to use your head.

See you later, Kitsap.”

My thoughts:

On learning buzz words for Web hits … her family’s tuition dollars well spent.

On the term “Kitsapians,” if it hasn’t already been coined somewhere, I think it has the potential to stick.

Stay in touch, Angela. It’s nice to know we are all connected by the Web. And you know the old saying, once a Kitsapian … scarred for life.

Setting Priorities on the South Kitsap Beat

It happens every year about this time, the leaves fall, Election Day comes and goes, and newspapers cut their budgets because of continuing massive changes in the media industry.

For the third year in a row, our staffing has been reduced. This time, 26 jobs are being eliminated across all departments, including 14 vacant positions that will now go unfilled.
The newsroom will lose 6.5 positions (including two managerial positions). The cuts will
take effect between now and the end of the year.

Like other “newspapers” we are caught up in the shift to Web publication as more and more people get their news online. It’s kind of like bailing a leaky dinghy while building a yacht.

In a syndrome played out in newsrooms across the nation, we grieve the loss of talented colleagues who are also our friends, and we wonder how we will keep the ship afloat with fewer hands to bail and build.

In a strange way, it is also exhilarating. While we’re not exactly in crisis mode, urgency creates clarity. Clearly our priority must be local news.

Looking ahead to the upcoming year, I’d like your ideas on what local issues are most important to you. Feel free to be honest about things that may have slipped through the cracks. I can’t promise I’ll get to everything you suggest, but I will do my best to respond to your priorities.

With changes in the media industry, there is a growing role for you as readers.

I grew up in a Walter Cronkite world, where, much as we who are now called Boomers hated to admit it, age equals experience equals gravitas. Thanks to the Internet, however, the concept of hierarchy is eroding at an exponential rate. Today’s youth, the almighty “target demographic,” has no idea what “seniority” means … thinks it might be a condition of aging … has to look it up on Wikipedia.

Through blogs and story comments, reporters and readers interact to form a collective body of knowledge about our community that describes who we are in a way that the old model of newspapers couldn’t touch.

With that in mind, here’s what’s on my radar. Let me know what you think, where you’d like less or more.

Aspects of SK I have been covering: The City of Port Orchard, South Kitsap School District, South Kitsap Regional Park and SK recreation in general, Port of Manchester, South Kitsap people and events, SK related elections, North Mason School District. County issues are generally covered by political reporter Steve Gardner, unless its an issue specific to SK.

In the upcoming year, I’d like to do more stories on communities that haven’t gotten a lot of press: Olalla and Southworth for example.

I’ll need to keep an eye on growth, especially in the City of Port Orchard, which is in the process of annexing a number of commercial properties including Fred Meyer. Also on the Bethel corridor.

I expect the economy will be an ongoing theme. Let me know how it’s playing out in your family or business.

I have a personal interest in youth and senior citizens, and I’d like to do more on these two groups.

I expect eating and buying locally will be themes in these tough economic times, when local business can use a boost and with the memory of $4 a gallon gas still fresh in our minds.

I’m always open to a good feature story (the quirkier the better).

So stay in touch, and thanks in advance for your contributions to the South Kitsap beat.

Addendum 3:45 p.m.: Guess I should have signed this, Chris Henry South Kitsap reporter

Matthes Ad (designed by Neatherlin) to Be Pulled from Cable

Tim MatthesThe Kitsap Sun has requested a campaign ad for Tim Matthes, Republican candidate for South Kitsap Commissioner, be pulled from cable television stations, where it has been running for the past couple of days.
The ad begins with a Kitsap Sun logo and the title of a letter to the editor, “County Government: We’re in Trouble,” by Marion Larm of Poulsbo
Deb Smith, director of marketing for the Kitsap Sun, called Matthes earlier today asking him to pull the ad because it uses the Kitsap Sun logo without permission. Smith cited another ad she saw that used the title of a letter to the editor by Vivian Henderson, director of the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners. Matthes is a member and past president of KAPO.
“By juxtaposing headlines from letters to the editor and using voice-over with our logo, the commercial improperly attributes their opinions to us,” said Smith in an e-mail.
Matthes said the ad was designed and submitted to the station by Randy Neatherlin, Republican candidate for the 35th District. Matthes said he was unaware he had done anything wrong in approving the ad.
“My intent is to take everything off there, at least the offending portions,” said Matthes. “I’m going to change it. I have to modify it and take anything off that has to do with the Kitsap Sun.”
On Friday afternoon, Matthes was trying to contact Neatherlin and also an attorney to see what the law says about campaign ads.
Managing editor Jeff Brody said clearly Matthes is not entitled to use the Kitsap Sun logo without permission. The only time that would be appropriate is if the Kitsap Sun had actually endorsed a candidate, Brody said.
Democratic candidate Monty Mahan received the endorsement of the Kitsap Sun’s editorial board over the past weekend.
Neatherlin, contacted later in the day, was surprised at the Kitsap Sun’s objection to the ad, material for which he pulled from the Kitsap Sun Web site
Neatherlin, a business owner whose “sideline” is making advertisements for other candidates, said use of newspaper headlines in campaign ads is a routine practice. He has used it before and never run into problems, he said.
Neatherlin apparently did not differentiate between headlines on articles and editorial titles. “From everything I understand, it’s 100 percent legal,” he said. “It’s common practice for political ads.”
Neatherlin said he would not speak for Matthes, but would defer to his wishes on the matter.
A note on the photo above: Matthes submitted this campaign photo to the Kitsap Sun. It shows the candidate seated at a table with the Kitsap County logo in the background. Matthes is a member of the county’s board of equalization.