We have a lot of work to do.
That’s my biggest takeaway from a coffee with the editor event that was held Thursday, July 11, at Convivial Cafe.
Unanimously — no matter who supported what politically or personally — several Islanders noted their preference to read Mercer Island specific news over regional content. Stacking the pages with Mercer Island content has been our goal. We can do a better job, and readers have noticed. We’re working to fix that issue.
We’re reviewing workflow and prioritization of limited resources. How can our reporters balance their focus between seven publications that cover the Eastside while not neglecting any of them? It’s a puzzle. Or maybe it’s more like a scale — if you push on one end, the other end comes up. Either way, we need to solve it.
And while a dedicated reporter might not be feasible (it’s not an idea that’s been completely discounted at the moment), we certainly need a better Island presence. Maybe that stronger presence on the Island started Thursday at Convivial Cafe. I want to make sure our publication is informing the community. Can our reporters be on the Island more? Absolutely.
The way I see it, there’s only one wrong way to move forward, and that is by ignoring feedback and progressing with business as usual. That’s not my plan.
I will start with a clear letters policy that I’ll refine with senior editor Samantha Pak and editorial director Andy Hobbs. I expect to have that letters policy published next week and available online. The goal is that the policy will increase transparency in the letters process — to pull back the curtain on it, if you will.
Next, we’ll chip away at the story ideas that have been funneled to me since I announced the coffee event. They’ll start showing up in the paper in upcoming issues.
Finally, I ask that you continue to share feedback and send story ideas. I also plan to hold a quarterly coffee event on the Island to maintain engagement and increase accountability. At future coffee events, I hope to bring a reporter who can meet the readers and receive story ideas. I’ll announce those coffee events in an editorial in a future issue of the Reporter.
I appreciate Convivial Cafe’s willingness to host the Reporter’s coffee event. We will look to accommodate a larger crowd at the next event.
But for those who could not attend, or for folks who attended but left because they couldn’t find a seat or couldn’t hear well, please email your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to respond to your feedback.
Thank you again for attending my coffee event and being invested in the community’s newspaper.
Corey Morris is regional editor of the Mercer Island Reporter. Contact email@example.com.