On the carpool to work this morning I ran into an interesting Twitter thread from South Carolina reporter Joseph Cranney.

“Local journalism 2018 in review – in every corner of the U.S. this year, reporters went to work every day looking to expose wrong doing in their communities,” Cranney tweeted before listing 50 pieces of excellent local journalism from each state.

It really is an interesting list of stories, check it out here: https://twitter.com/joey_cranney/status/1074008108857524225

As the new editor of The Dispatch, I am not spending every day looking to find “wrong doing”, but I know that this job is important for a small community living in a large area with two metropolitan cities nearby.

I began this job in October and I have worked diligently to clean up the look, feel and read of this paper, not just because I get paid for my work but because I know how crucial a small-town paper is to the health of a community.

A little bit about me, I moved to Washington from my home state, Idaho. I went to college for journalism and spent the first part of my career working in my hometown. Idaho is brimming with small towns that mirror the size and feel of Eatonville.

Before my move to Washington I worked for a small weekly in the city of Kuna, Idaho. Kuna and Eatonville have more in common then one might think.

Kuna is a small farming community located in a large county, Ada County. Ada County is also home to Idaho’s capital, Boise. While Kuna struggles to hold onto its identity as a small dairy town, it faces challenges such as a lack of funding for its schools, a housing boom, pressure to keep up with infrastructure as traffic increases, trying to keep jobs and shoppers within its local economy while seeing large box stores move in and more. I think these are issues Eatonville residents can understand quite well.

A free press and local journalism is more important to a small town because while larger papers are focusing on the county and state (all of great importance), I know it can feel like no one is looking out for the small communities.

We at the Dispatch are looking out for you.

We are doing this by hiring freelancers who are able to cover the local town council meetings and the local sports games. We can cover what is important to this town, such as the yearly Christmas parade but also the local elections.

As I said, we are not looking strictly for “wrong doing,” but we are going to work harder and keep our ears to the ground so our readers understand what is happening in their community.

We are a small staff here at the Dispatch. So this is where you come in, dear reader.

Send us your stories, your ideas, your letters and your photos. We are a community paper and we want to be just that, a reflection of the community.

I am more than excited to take on the challenge of being the editor for The Dispatch. I hope our readers feel welcomed to reach out and help us pursue the stories that need to be told in this town.