I didn’t have to review the past 11 months of Methow Valley News issues to know that it has been an intense year for noteworthy local news stories. We’ve been kept constantly busy tracking them and keeping up with appropriate coverage. So compiling our annual Top News Stories of the Year ballot, which debuts in this week’s paper and will be repeated for several more weeks, was a matter of narrowing it down to a manageable list.
For our annual Year in Review Issue, which will appear on Jan. 3, 2024, we rely on readers to help us determine the top 10 stories by filling out a ballot online, or sending us your choices by email or snail mail. It’s simple to participate: pick your own top 10 stories — you don’t have to rank them in any order, just pick 10 — from the 25 options on the ballot.
Well, not entirely simple — you will need to make some tough choices from among a selection of compelling stories. Some will be familiar continuations of ongoing issues, others will be new developments. You’ll just have to use your best judgment. There may have been some stories you think should have been included — you are welcome to offer write-in votes. I haven’t done my own top 10 selections yet, so I can sympathize about the task of choosing.
As always, we guarantee an above-board, scandal-free, non-rigged process to develop the final list of 10 (or another one or two if there are ties). To that end, we ask that you complete just one ballot, but feel free to pass one along to someone else. We’re interested in your choices — it helps us determine what’s most important to our readers and think about ongoing coverage.
For a refresher in how it works, here are the top 10 stories of 2022 as determined by readers: The Wagner Ranch transfer to the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation; the “grand openings” (Okanogan County Fire District 6 fire hall, Twisp Civic Building, Winthrop library); the Twisp Restoration Project; the November 2022 elections; renewed discussion of reintroducing grizzly bears into the North Cascades; the Winthrop RiverWalk project’s progress; climate action progress in the Methow Valley; the sale of Sun Mountain Lodge; debate over protection for gray wolves; and (tie) the opioid crisis and a summer without fires.
Of course, given the nature of news, something else may emerge over the next few weeks that would rise to the status of a top 10 candidate. We’ll figure out how to incorporate that if it happens. Or maybe the year will just ease into the holidays and transition to 2024 without much more distraction. If only.
Meantime, please take part. The tallies are usually close, so every vote does indeed count.
Since before my time here, the Opinion content of the Methow Valley News has started on page A4, regular as clockwork, or calendar work as it were. Call us consistent or calcified, either way you could count on finding columns, letters, editorials and cartoons a few pages into the weekly edition, sometimes extending to page A5 when the letters to the editor accumulated.
Until last week, that is, when we were initially as confused as you were (assuming you even noticed) to discover that a page labeled B4 appeared where the Opinion page usually resides, while A4 was relocated to the B section.
It was a mix-up at the printing plant, where one page plate was inadvertently exchanged for another. As I noted in a Facebook post about the switcheroo, no other pages were harmed in the making of the newspaper. So despite some potential confusion, all the content we prepared for last week’s edition was included, most of it where it was intended to be.
I did encounter one reader who asked about it. Most of the emoticon response on Facebook was of the laughing face or thumbs up variety, so like us people seemed to find it more amusing than annoying. A sampling of comments: “We noticed it, but love every page anyway.” “The pages just wanted a little variety in their lives!” And from the editor of another newspaper, “I hate it when this happens!”
Assuming things are back to normal this week, the natural order has been restored. But it did make me think that maybe we should be reviewing the paper’s structure periodically to determine if it’s still working. People like predictability, but they are also appreciate changes and challenges. If we do make any significant adjustments, we won’t spring it on you unannounced.