Farewell to a newspaper

A local newspaper died two weeks ago and today the former staffers (of which I am one) got together to remember it. It should have been a sad occasion (damnit! It was a sad occasion) but we were all having too much fun to be morose. We lamented its loss but celebrated the people who made it a darned good paper while it lived.

The paper, under its last name, was the King County Journal. When I worked there, it was the Journal American, formed by joining two weeklies, the Kirkland Journal and the Bellevue American. And there was the Valley Daily News, another daily that also became part of the King County Journal papers and, so, is also gone.

The papers were the victims of the changing economics in the newspaper business: Advertising and circulation are down as readers flock to the web. Big urban papers are struggling and small suburban papers like the King County Journal are hurting even worse.

The scary thing is: this won't be the last. More newspapers will go under as publishers struggle to make the transition to the web and try to figure out what people will still pay for in print.

The amazing thing about this was the incredibly talented group of people who had worked there over the years. We filled a room at the Bellevue Hilton and overflowed into the lobby. The turnout was a testament to the commitment and love everyone had for the paper. Once you've had ink in your veins, it's hard to get it out.

An example: In the second photo above, the man on the right is Chuck Morgan. Chuck, who is approaching 95, I believe, was the publisher of the Kirkland Journal. Frank Wetzel, on the left, was a former editor of the Journal American.

For more photos, check out our Flickr group.

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