“You know, there really is a lot of great stuff going on here,” Meredith Browand said, smiling over a cup of coffee last week. A longtime columnist for this newspaper, Meredith took on the additional role of KP News Community Calendar editor about 18 months ago and found she really loves the work.
“After a while, you get to know people more. I get to hear their passion and see the pride they take in what they’re doing. I keep learning more and more,” she said.
When a frequent online calendar user hadn’t entered the latest reading selection for the local book club, it was so out of character that Meredith reached out to make sure everything was OK. Together they laughed over how easy it is to get busy and simply forget.
But how heartwarming is having your absence noticed? What happens when you miss the familiarity of chatting with the grocery checker who relocated to Tennessee? Or when your friendly barista, who never did learn your name but knew your favorite afternoon drink preference, switches shifts? It doesn’t take long to begin feeling a little lost in your own town.
There is a whole lot of living going on here that only a small fraction would know about if it wasn’t for having a hyperlocal focused Key Peninsula News.
The success of Key Peninsula News belongs to all of us. We are readers, volunteer staff and contributors, supporters and donors, and local business owners advertising their shops and services.
Several KP Newsies made the trek over the Cascades to Kennewick Oct. 7 for the annual Washington Newspaper Publishers Association convention. What strikes me every year is the devotion to journalism and dedication of these professionals to keep the presses rolling, all proud of their communities and the work we all do. There is always curiosity about us since we’re one of the few nonprofit publishers. “How do you do it?”
I confess I love little more than sharing the strength of support we receive from our mostly rural community. “People don’t just like it,” I say. “They tell us again and again how much they love the paper. Everyone has an opportunity to read news with an entirely local focus whether they can afford to subscribe or donate or not.”
The nonprofit Key Peninsula News has been publishing for over 50 years. We operate without paywalls because we believe our community is reinforced by discovering these seemingly random threads that serve to bind us. Our online archives provide a wonderful look at the KP’s past. The long-held idea that “all politics is local” has been slowly replaced by news of national politics and commentary becoming a divisive force. In the process, it looks like we’ve forgotten how to reach compromises to govern effectively.
At the Kennewick awards banquet, the name Key Peninsula News was called so many times we lost count altogether. We were, in a word, giddy and came home with an astonishing 25 awards.
And then came the unicorns, naturally. About midway through the evening, a friend shot me a text message, “You’re going to love this photo!” I could hardly believe my eyes.
Once home, I was able to arrange a private interview with the chief unicorn.
“It’s one of those things, like you said, the world just felt off-kilter,” the chief unicorn told me. She was at Target and spotted three adult inflatable costumes on the rack, and wondered what fun they could be.
She called her close friend and said, “Don’t think I’m crazy but we are going to be unicorns.” The friend never questioned it and declared herself in on the spot.
We said, “Let’s just go cheer people up. First stop, visiting a local woman who recently broke her hip.”
Later, photos and videos posted on Facebook of the unicorns spotted frolicking along quiet KP country roads or out on the water on paddleboards and kayaks, and more drew the attention of a Tacoma News Tribune reporter.
They asked for an interview but the unicorns initially declined, until the reporter agreed not to reveal the identity of any unicorn.
“It’s not about us, it’s about the fact that we are doing this together to create joy and cultivate community,” the chief unicorn said. “How are we going to have difficult conversations with people in the community if we don’t even spend time with them?”
Coincidentally, that is our mission at Key Peninsula News.
All of our board, our entire staff, writers, photographers and distribution team members give thanks to all of our readers, advertisers and supporters for making it possible.
And if you have a thought on how to improve on that, please do not hesitate to send a letter to the editor at email@example.com.
UNDERWRITTEN BY NEWSMATCH/MIAMI FOUNDATION, THE ANGEL GUILD, ROTARY CLUB OF GIG HARBOR, ADVERTISERS, DONORS AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT NONPROFIT NEWS