Do you have story ideas? Plan to attend Coffee with the Editor this month

·3 min read
Tony Overman/Staff photographer

It’s been a while since I’ve written a column, so first, let me thank you for being an Olympian reader. Your support keeps our reporters working, our photographers on the job and our website stocked full of stories aimed at keeping you informed about our community and our state.

This year is my 29th at The Olympian, and it makes me a little dizzy when I think about all that has changed over those decades. But the most important things have not changed: our commitment to this community, our journalistic integrity, and our mission to provide fact-based, transparent reporting about local issues that affect us all.

Since the pandemic, I know it’s been confusing to some about who is producing The Olympian, where we are located, and how it is all coming together. So let me provide you with some of that information.

The Olympian’s staff is made up of:

  • Reporting team leader Rolf Boone, who covers Lacey, the Port of Olympia, business and a lot of breaking news;

  • Reporter Martin Bilbao, who covers Thurston County, the courts and breaking news;

  • Reporter Ty Vinson, who covers Olympia, Tumwater and breaking news;

  • Reporter Shauna Sowersby, who covers the state Capitol not only for The Olympian, but for the other three McClatchy newspapers in Washington state;

  • Longtime photographers Steve Bloom and Tony Overman (who also does work for The News Tribune in Tacoma).

Freelance writer Molly Gilmore also writes about local arts and entertainment regularly for our Weekend page. Jill Severn is the knowledgeable researcher and wordsmith who serves with me as The Olympian’s editorial board and crafts our editorials.

We have an office in the James R. Larson Forum Building on 11th Avenue Southeast, east of the Capitol Campus. However, we don’t serve the public there, mostly because we no longer have reception staff, and many of our staff don’t work there regularly. We learned how to work remotely but together during the pandemic, and continuing suits many of our lives — and our work’s strange hours — better than being in an office.

But we do recognize that not having an office where readers and customers can do business is frustrating to some and limits our ability to learn about stories we should be writing and hear feedback. So I’m going to take one step to remedy that.

I will host an event we are calling Coffee with the Editor, which will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, at the Harbor House at Percival Landing. It will be an open house where you are welcome to come and go as your schedule allows. I will be happy to hear about story ideas, issues you think reporters need to tackle, work we’ve done well or not so well. I will be joined by our staff as news allows.

One caveat: I know many of you have had difficulties with your newspaper delivery, and I am truly very sorry about that. But I will not have any way to address those issues at this event, so let’s keep the focus on journalism.

I hope to meet many of you on April 26! But also feel free to email me anytime at