Don No Bad DaysBy Don Nelson

The good news/bad news event of the week for the Methow Valley News is that we are losing a unique – some might say incomprehensible – voice and a valued long-time colleague with the departure of Sue Misao.

After this week, Sue is heading to “the coast” to become editor of the Northwest Asian Weekly, a well-regarded publication in Seattle. It’s a great opportunity for her, and Sue’s multiple talents will be a big asset to the publication. We are happy for her and simultaneously wondering who’s going to fill her shoes (see our classified advertising section if you’re interested or know someone who might be).

Sue has been at the paper for 17 years in a variety of important capacities, most recently as our designer, website goddess, best photographer and keeper of the “What’s Happening” calendar. But readers everywhere are most familiar with Sue’s entertaining weekly stream-of-consciousness reports from Carlton, guaranteed to amuse, inform and baffle regular followers, often in the same ambling sentence. I’ve never asked her to explain where it comes from, because I’m not sure I want to know.

Sue is a known wise-cracker with a wicked wit, but she also cares deeply about this community (where she raised two children) and about the quality of her work for the newspaper (where she won many awards for photography and design). She’ll be missed, and neither Carlton, nor the valley, nor the Methow Valley News will be the same.


Annual rite for weeklies

By the time most of you read this I’ll be in Olympia for the annual convention of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association, (WNPA), a trade group that represents the state’s weekly newspapers. I’m in my first year on the organization’s board of directors and still figuring out how I can best be of use and service.

People have mixed attitudes about industry conventions, but mine are strictly positive. I enjoy talking shop with publishers, editors, advertising sales managers and other newspaper folks from around the state. It’s a great way to catch up on what other people are doing and perhaps learn something that might be applicable when I return to the valley. We share many similar challenges and opportunities in the weekly world.

On our agenda this year are topics such as ethical and legal issues for community newspapers, effective advertising sales strategies, advice on how to improve our reporting and photography, issues posed by the Internet, and team-building with small staffs. We’ll also learn about awards the Methow Valley News won for its advertising, design, photography and writing efforts.

I’m expecting to come back with plenty of thoughts about how to improve your community paper. The harder part is putting them into effect.