Inside today’s newspaper, you’ll find a new section: SoundLife.
For several years, our Sunday features section has been called Adventure and focused solely on outdoor recreation. Starting today, we’re mixing it up a bit. We’ll save space for recreational topics like hiking, fishing, biking and skiing, but we’re moving topics such as home fix-ups, gardening and food from Wednesday’s paper into Sunday, when people have more time to enjoy them (and cook and garden). We’ve discontinued the Wednesday features section.
A few reasons.
Never miss a local story.
First, we’ve been researching which topics our readers care most about, tracking how many people read each topic and how long they spend reading those stories. Some outdoor recreation coverage did well in our research; some did not. We’ve kept the most popular features and pared down the rest.
“Our new Sunday section will be a mix of the topics of highest interest to our readers and play to the strengths of our staff,” said features editor Jeffrey P. Mayor. “We’re also going to write more stories about the people who live, work and play in the South Sound. We want this section to reflect the people of the South Sound.”
The front of SoundLife will feature a local columnist — either Adventure writer Craig Hill or gardening expert Marianne Binetti. We’ve also started a new calendar called “Plan Your Week” with events for the week ahead. On the Adventure page, you’ll find a new feature called Adventurers of the Week. (Nominate yourself or someone else by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Also, the Dilbert cartoon moves back to the comics page, where it will replace For Better or For Worse, which hasn’t had a new strip since it began rerunning old strips in 2008.
These changes are the first of several we’ll roll out over the next few months as we respond to changing reader preferences.
Welcome Lauren Smith
School is almost ready to begin, so it’s the perfect time to announce that The Olympian will have a new high school sports writer. Yes, preps writer Meg Wochnick left this summer to become the first female sports editor of The Daily News in Longview, where she’s already making her mark.
Replacing her will be Lauren Smith, who grew up in Puyallup and graduated from Emerald Ridge High School in 2008. She played fastpitch, ran cross country and was the primary sports reporter for the school’s newspaper.
She attended the University of Washington, where she worked at the UW’s daily newspaper. She graduated with a degree in journalism in 2013 and moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as an assistant for writing, directing and producing partners Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
She moved back to Washington after a year and worked as a freelance reporter for The Tacoma News Tribune, the Puyallup Herald and The Peninsula Gateway before we hired her.
In her spare time, Lauren enjoys skimboarding and golfing. And she says she’s a baseball fan who is not very patiently waiting for the Mariners to make it to the playoffs again.
Please give her a warm welcome as she gets up to speed for the busy fall high school sports season.
Help shape our opinions
The Olympian needs a new community member to serve on our editorial board and help shape the newspaper’s published opinions.
This is a volunteer position that requires availability for weekly editorial board meetings held Wednesday mornings — and more frequently during election cycles like we are headed into now. Guests are individuals and groups making the news, from local residents to the governor and members of Congress.
Ours is one of the few newspapers in Washington that include community residents on their editorial boards. We started the practice more than 20 years ago to broaden the depth and scope of the newspaper’s editorial decisions.
Editorial page editor Brad Shannon and I are the board’s permanent members. Jill Severn is continuing as a community board member; Larry Jefferson’s term is ending.
The open term begins in September and runs until June 2016. We are accepting applications through 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8. (We initially asked for applications by Aug. 21, but because this has been vacation season, we want to make sure we aren’t missing anyone who is interested.)
Send us a self-nomination letter that includes information about your educational background, work experience, civic engagement and ethnic heritage. Tell us why you want to serve on the editorial board and what life experiences you will bring to our discussions.
Send your application to Editorial Board, The Olympian, 111 Bethel St. NE, Olympia, WA 98506, or via email at email@example.com.
Time flies in the news business
Yes, we are already planning our annual listing of local, nonprofit fall and holiday bazaars. It will publish on Sunday, Oct. 4.
That means, if your organization sponsors a bazaar that you want published in The Olympian’s list, you need to send your information in. Here’s what we need:
▪ The bazaar’s name.
▪ The days, dates and times.
▪ The location, including a full street address.
▪ A brief description of what you are selling.
▪ The organization sponsoring the bazaar and the organization benefiting from the proceeds.
▪ A contact name and phone number.
The deadline is Sept. 18. Send your information to Tammy McGee at 111 Bethel St. NE, Olympia, WA 98506, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dusti Demarest: 360-357-0206