By Paul Archipley
Beacon Publisher 

Time for a changing of the guard | Publisher's Desk


Last updated 2/8/2022 at 3:48pm

Brian Soergel

Publisher Paul Archipley speaks after receiving an award from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.

About three decades ago when the newspaper industry was moving into the computer age, I used to regale young journalists with stories about how we used to write stories on typewriters, and then, trying to suggest I wasn't completely Neanderthal, I'd add, "But they were electric typewriters."

These days I wouldn't be surprised if many in Generation Z have never seen or perhaps even know what a typewriter is.

Likewise, the days of paste-up and layout, film developing and – very soon, newsprint itself – are giving way to InDesign, Photoshop, iPads and smartphones.

I've seen it all, because yes, I've gotten, well, old. In fact, it was 50 years ago when I landed my first paying newspaper job (not including my childhood paper route), doing paste-up and layout in the back shop for a couple of weekly newspapers while enrolled at my hometown college (Go Titans!).

There's No Place Like Local

And it was 30 years ago, after my wife Cate and I had moved to the Great Northwest, when I talked her into helping me launch a weekly newspaper in our new hometown, Mukilteo. It was a classic case of "If I knew then what I know now," but, thanks to Cate, we pulled it off. The Beacon wouldn't have made it without her.

At the time, Mukilteo was still a sleepy burg of just 8,000 residents. It had recently doubled in size when residents of the newly-built Harbour Pointe development decided to annex into Mukilteo rather than start a separate town.

Still, when I approached various electeds and other locals about our plan to publish a weekly newspaper, they were puzzled. A common refrain: "Do you really think there's enough news around here for a weekly newspaper?"

There was, and is. We patterned our "look" by borrowing ideas from other weeklies around the state, including the nearby Edmonds Paper, which we bought a few years later. We launched the Mill Creek Beacon eight years ago, and have experimented with various other publications as well.

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It has been a great run. And, despite the challenges of the ever-changing industry, it's not over. After all, I still believe a local newspaper is the glue that binds a community. When done right, it provides fair, honest and accurate coverage of the people and events that impact people where it most counts – where they live. That's why our motto is "We cover YOUR world."

But to provide that coverage, we have to change with the times. And in my case, that means stepping aside and giving younger, more capable people the opportunity to guide Beacon Publishing into the future.

I am retiring as The Beacon's publisher. Jenn Barker, the company's general manager, is taking over that job. In addition, Edmonds Beacon editor Brian Soergel is moving into the newly-created managing editor position.

I'm lucky that Jenn and Brian, along with the rest of the company's team, are not only highly capable, but have the skills and enthusiasm to move Beacon Publishing into the newspaper industry's next phase.

No, I'm not disappearing. I remain president of Beacon Publishing, and will help Jenn oversee the business side as well as assist in other ways, depending...

... On what? I'm not sure. Like other retirees, I'm uncertain and, of course, nervous, about the future. When you've been working in the same business for 50 years, it's difficult to imagine not working in it.

My bucket list is pretty short. Travel, of course, is high on the list. In fact, Cate and I are headed to Hawaii in a few days for some R&R. I'd like to spend more time with my family, play with my grandsons, take up piano lessons again, volunteer more, get in better shape, climb El Capitan, etc. Kidding about El Capitan, but it could be a busy retirement, nevertheless.

I don't plan to walk away completely, because I love newspapers, I love my Beacon family, and I'm proud that we've played a role in helping make the communities we cover better places to live. I hope our readers agree.

One of the side benefits of publishing community newspapers is that I have met and made friends with a lot of wonderful people who stepped up to make the communities we live in better places for all of us. We've been honored and privileged to tell their stories.

Thank you, dear readers, for your support. Please continue. Subscribe, write letters, call us with your story ideas. Without you, there would be no Beacon.

See you on the other side.


Reader Comments(1)

Deborah Arthur writes:

Love the Beacon. Happy for you. Have fun. I am sure you deserve it. Deb.


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