By buying the La Conner Weekly News last June, Ken Stern continues the legacy of a weekly newspaper being published continuously in La Conner since 1873. This is the town in Washington with the oldest ongoing weekly newspaper publication. La Connerites and the over 4,000 residents in the 98257 zip code take their newspaper seriously. Not many towns of 900 people (along with neighboring communities) support a weekly printed newspaper anymore. La Conner does.
The Weekly News strives to cover events and activities on both sides of the Swinomish Channel and extending out to Bay View, Conway, Anacortes and Mount Vernon. Community, school, fire district and local government meetings and decisions are reported. The Weekly News is particularly proud of the coverage of school sports, done for decades by Bill Reynolds. Reynolds is an outstanding all around reporter.
Likewise, the Weekly News publishes award winning photographs by Don Coyote. The paper’s columns, including Mickey Bambrick’s, Mel Damski’s, and Pat Paul’s weekly food recipe, Aqiimuk’s Kitchen, have all won awards at Washington Newspaper Publishers Association annual conventions. Reporters annually win awards for news and feature writing.
The paper proudly lists on its front page the tag line “Your independent hometown award winning newspaper.” It is each of those: As the November 1 editorial heralding the new ownership and a change in printers put it: “We are rightfully proud of each of those descriptions: This paper is autonomous; without strings attached, or pulled by anyone, locally owned, of consistent good quality and recognized by professional journalists. Call us ornery, local, proud and smart.”
Inch for inch and page for page the Weekly News prints more news than another other paper in Skagit County. Besides the important ongoing featuring of local happenings, the paper emphasizes the local food economy, arts and culture, moving into a sustainable future and the ongoing necessary participation required by citizens in a democracy. Stern, as editor, has an active editorial voice primarily emphasizing current local issues.
The paper invites citizens to write and share their views on any topic of interest to them. Letters up to 300 words are welcome. A contribution of 450 words will be printed as a guest column on page 2. Reflections, reminiscences and poems are all published.
The Weekly News prints 1,200 copies for Wednesday distribution. Subscriptions are $35 annually in county and $40 out of county. Papers can be bought at red news boxes and stores and coffee shops in La Conner and Rexville for seventy-five cents. Some 600 copies are mailed in Skagit County, primarily to the 98257 zip code and another 200 are mailed around the country, primarily in Washington. Over 300 copies are for sale at retail locations.
The Weekly News is the strongest direct mail option for merchants in its newshed. The Weekly News is taken seriously by its readers, who while reading it cover to cover, focus in particularly on the weekly Sheriff’s police blotter. A reasonable estimate is that at least two people read each copy, on average. The paper stays in the home and on the coffee table for the week for family and visitors.
Businesses, local governments and non-profits would be wise to consider advertising in the Weekly News to deliver their message in and around La Conner.
To get coverage, submit a letter or an article or place advertising in the newspaper, contact Ken Stern at 360-466-3315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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